Wine reference books enter the digital age

One thing you quickly realize doing wine education is that there is an enormous amount of material to get through. Unfortunately, most of it has not moved beyond the realm of the printed page to be accessible in the digital world. For example, on a recent business trip, I was hoping to study for my Unit 3 WSET Diploma exam. However, there was little practical way to take advantage of my 6 hour plane ride without bringing a piece of luggage dedicated to text books.

Oxford CompanionFirstly, there’s the hardcover, 840 page, Oxford Companion to Wine, considered to be the curriculum “bible”. Secondly, my 176 page, Unit 3 WSET Diploma study guide. Thirdly, the hardcover, 400 page, World Atlas of Wine, is critical for visualization and context. Lastly, my folders filled with notes, handouts, and additional notebooks from all the in-class lectures. This all amounted to a carry-on in itself. Once onboard, the next problem would be how to actually utilize all this reference material in the confines of a British Airways economy seat. An insurmountable problem.

I’d made efforts to get around the problem. I’ve subscribed to Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages, which gives online access to the Oxford Companion to Wine. This is immensely helpful during study time with instant searching and referencing of the material, but wouldn’t help much at 30,000 feet without an internet connection. I’d also taken pictures of my study guide in an effort to have a portable copy. I’d even scanned pages in to get better quality. However, all of this was simply poor workarounds to what was really needed: digital copies from the publisher.

I cheekily tweeted Jancis Robinson in the midst of my packing panic and managed to get a reply:

Jancis tweet

So, I happily put the thought aside thinking one day all this wine education would be a bit more convenient. Well, that day is now getting closer. According to Decanter, the World Atlas of Wine (7th edition) will be released in both analog and digital form. The hardcover will be published on October 7th for around $40, while an iBook version will be available for about half the cost (as per GBP pricing).

I can only imagine the day when I’ll have the World Atlas of Wine, the Oxford Companion to Wine, my textbooks and notes, all easily accessible on an iPad while sipping on Champagne in business class. Am I dreaming? Perhaps about the travel class…

(Check out this video of Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson waxing eloquently about the upcoming 7th edition of the World Atlas of Wine.)

2 comments to Wine reference books enter the digital age

  • Jason Patrick

    They mentioned your website in the Arts Club Theatre Promo for the 34th California Wine Fair. Congratulations! You write so well!

    • WCVR

      Hey Jason… obviously a neglected blog considering how long it’s taken me to see this comment. Do you have a copy/link to the mention that you can pass along?

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