Lonely Planet Wine Trails Book Review


Reviewed by Jane Warwick

This hardback book arrived in a cardboard pouch by Royal Mail and was in excellent condition. The front cover is well presented with photos of difference regions as well as a picture of a couple of glasses containing wine, so you know before reading the title, what the book is all about.

There are 14 places named on the front cover and a highlighted circle with the words “Perfect 52 weekends”, so I was intrigued by the book.

On opening the book, the front cover is backed with green good quality paper and the title page gives a little more information regarding the weekends, stating plan 52 perfect weekends in wine country. Flicking through the book I was impressed by the quality of the photographs.

I enjoy wine and I have been fortunate to have tried wine tasting in a variety of countries in the past, including Canada and New Zealand so I was keen to learn more of what this book would offer me.

Looking at the countries listed it surprised me that there was variation in the number of wine regions chosen for each country such as 2 regions in New Zealand whereas 7 in Australia. New Zealand has some fabulous vineyards in other areas such as Waiheke Island easily accessible from Auckland. Having toured many vineyards in New Zealand, I was very surprised is to why they chose Hawkes Bay and Marlborough although it is good to see that they picked one region from both main islands (North and South), which form New Zealand. These wine regions are areas most people who have an interest in wine will already have heard of and possible they will have already tasted these wines as many are available in our supermarkets in this country. I suppose the fact there are so many vineyards in both regions it is difficult to choose a few for each region for this book. However, what is the purpose of the book? I can google vineyards in the Marlborough region and then make my choice.

However, the book is well organised with the countries in alphabetical order starting with Argentina and ending with USA. The wine regions are then highlighted and so you can easily find each region rather than having to look at all of them within a country. I decided to start with England – South Downs as these are local to me so more feasible to do soon. I turned to the relevant page and I was greeted with a lovely photograph showing English countryside but the photograph was not labelled so I do not know where in the South Downs (if it is from there), this view comes from. The opening introduction gives a map of where the South Downs is and then a more detailed map showing the site of 5 vineyards. I was immediately perplexed as Hattingley valley is not in the South Downs nor is Cottonworth Wines. (I have tried sparkling wine at a vineyard in the Hattingley Valley “The Grange” which I was most impressed with in terms of colour and flavour although the price of the wine was too high for my budget so this valley is worth visiting ). I did not learn much from the notes under each vineyard stated so you then must do further research on each using the internet. Whilst I was on the internet, I could research vineyards on the South Downs, and I got a huge number which I could click on and find opening times etc. At the end of this section on South Downs, there is a page of essential information which is a good idea which includes where to stay; where to eat; what to do and celebrations. Only two places are mentioned under each category and there is no indication of the prices which is important when working out a weekend so again it is something you have to research. There are so many good pubs in this area that I do not understand how they selected the places they did.

Unfortunately, the book disappointed me as I do not understand what its actual purpose is. Is it just to wet someone’s appetite to wines from an area so they would do further research? Is it to show wine is produced in several countries? I really do not know. Would I give this book to my father who enjoys wine? The answer is no! I think I would rather buy some good bottles of wine and give him information on vineyards when he next goes to a country on holiday.
The only people who this book might be good for are those who are not wine drinkers but may want to try some whilst on holiday and have no idea so will follow the suggestions here.

Rating: 2/5

RRP: £19.99

This product can be purchased from Lonely Planet here.

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