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Wine Folly Magnum Review: Easily The Best Wine Book For Beginners

“Wine = Science + Art”, is the quote that opens the Wine Folly Magnum Edition. And while there are plenty of books available that’ll deal with the science part of that equation, when it comes to the art, Wine Folly Magnum covers it better than anyone. In fact, it’d be only a minor stretch to call Wine Folly the Centre Pompidou of wine: colourful, contemporary, idiosyncratic… and fun.

I’m sure you’ll already be familiar with the Wine Folly concept (the book, the website, the YouTube channel, the t-shirt…) but it’s still worth mentioning that no other brand explores wine in such an engaging, eye-catching style. Their infographics are the best in the business; their maps unrivalled.

This should be no surprise, because Wine Folly’s co-founder and figurehead Madeline Puckette (pictured top) is a graphic designer as well as a sommelier. And, if you’ve seen her tasting videos, you’ll know that she also swears like a docker and spits like a bandit in a Sergio Leone western. She’s quite a lady.

wine folly magnum

What’s Inside?

Wine Folly Magnum Edition is fundamentally a reboot of the original book: Wine Folly: The Essential Guide To Wine. It’s more than just a second-edition makeover though: it contains over double the content of the original, with new chapters, maps and infographics, as well as up-to-date stats.

One of Wine Folly’s superpowers is its simplicity. And, like its predecessor, Wine Folly Magnum Edition follows a basic structure. It’s split into four sections: Wine Basics; Food and Wine; Grape Varieties; and Regions.

Its graphical minimalism and use of negative space lures your eyes across the pages, while its cleverly structured organisation of info won’t give you a headache, like some wine books (and some wines).

If Wine Folly were a wine, it’d have to be organic, and its user-friendly layout makes it a really convenient companion to home-drinking. I use it all the time. Take a sniff; have a sip; meditate briefly on your senses, then look up the region and grape variety and see if you’re experiences tally with the elegantly laid out charts and tasting notes.


The Best Wine Book For Beginners?

There are more than a few essential wine reference books around. The World Atlas of Wine and the Oxford Companion to Wine, for instance, are important resources for experts and for those who get a kick out of submerging themselves in minutiae. But there’s no wine book you’ll want to pick up more than Wine Folly Magnum. It’s just so amiable and inviting. My only real gripe is that it uses too many exclamation marks!!!

For me, Wine Folly Magnum not only the best wine book for beginners… it’s the best wine book full stop. I’m just not sure why they named it after a Hawaiian private investigator (I know, I know).


Wine Folly Magnum Edition is released in hardback in October 2018. UK price £25.


3 comments on “Wine Folly Magnum Review: Easily The Best Wine Book For Beginners

  1. Still using her original book so won’t buy the new one yet as Im still discovering new things or finding useful references daily! It sits alongside my Wine Atlas, 1001 Wines to Try before …., This Is Not A Wine Guide, The History of ……

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the slightly less ambitious 101 Wines to Try before… What they lack in numbers they make up for in price though .


  3. Pingback: A Masterclass In Kosher Israeli Wine: Review And UK Special Offer – The Wine Ninjas

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