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Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  850 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Windows on the World Complete Wine Course is simply the bestselling wine book in North America—it’s a classic. In addition to retaining the expanded 60-page section on “101 Wines You Should Know,” from last year, the 2009 revision will include 16 pages of quizzes (two at the end of every chapter) to test readers on how much they’ve learned—just as if they were in Kevin’s c ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Sterling (first published December 31st 1985)
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Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't yet made my way through this book entirely, but my impressions at my current stopping point have me favoring the other wine books I have over this one, which is why I'm putting it down for now. I'm enjoying The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil much more. For a book to help guide and inform you through your own tastings and wine in general that I really love is Andrea Robinson's Great Wine Made Simple. I'm sure ill pick this one up again in the future, it's just that I'm not that excited to ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read that condenses Oenology 101, 201 and perhaps even 301 into a single resource.
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: wine snob wanna-bes
You could learn a lot from this book if you really used it as a coursebook. I just did some skimming and still picked up a few things.

Relevant to me (a big Riesling fan) is some info on German wines:

Tafelwein: "table wine", lowest designation of German wine
Qualitatswein: "quality wine" can be QbA (from one of the 13 regions) or Praedikatswein (quality wine with distinction, the good stuff, no sugar added!)

Praedikatswein breaks down further:
Kabinett - light semi-dry wines
Spatlese - "late pickin
Tim Wake
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first foray into wine education, this is an attempt to do justice to the necessary complexity of wine while still being a relatively "simple" wine book. I've been advised that this is roughly the minimum amount I need to know about wine to be able survive, and after reading it, it's demystified a great deal for me.

Unfortunately, to properly internalize the information, another pass, much note taking, and the consumption of several hundred bottles of wine are in order. And this is a simple win
Tim Gannon
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culinary
This is the text for the Windows on the World Wine School. Started as a club activity for a private lunch club at the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center. The response was so great, they opened their first class for consumers in 1980. Apparently, more than 18,000 people have taken this course.

Gives a brief overview of winemaking. It even has a chapter on sensation and wine tasting. It goes through wines of France, US, Germany, Spain, Italy and even brief mentions of Austr
Mar 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-learning
Purely bought for research. Had a hard time getting through the chapters on wine areas, although I love the little trivia about wine :)

I understand more about it now, such as how it's made, where it's made, which countries produce wine the most, flavor and scents, how to taste wine, and what a sommelier does.. also get to look at different wine labels, and skim through useful FAQs.

Wine lovers will definitely enjoy this book, put it in their library or coffee tables.
Julie Christine
A bit on the basic side, but a useful quick & dirty overview of the world of wine. The paragraph headings are topical and relevant to the industry of the moment, but if keeping up with trends and changes appeals, it would make more sense to invest in a good monthly wine rag and build a library of classic wine reference materials.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
This book is a great primer on wines of the world that I picked up shortly after completing my first certification in wine and spirits. It definitely helped that I had a base level of knowledge, but found that this booked continued to add more to my understanding. I really have enjoyed reading this and referring back to it as I open new bottles. The content is well organized and easy to follow. I don't necessarily think you can get specific bottle recommendations from reading this, but will help ...more
Tony Margiotta
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an essential if you want to learn the basics about wine and all the important wine regions of the world. In particular, I love how the author breaks down how to taste wine and what to look for in a simple way. Anyone can do it and will enjoy drinking wine even more!
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by my favorite person in the world: the wine lady at Wegman's, who knows so much about everything important (wine). It does not disappoint. You'll feel like some kind of an expert after savoring this book.
Jay McNair
A fine introduction to wine. Though much was missing, yet much remained, which was chiefly the credit of the subject itself. Still, it got me started, though I think I was already started before reading it.

Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-drink

A thorough, detailed book on everything wine, perfect for someone at the 101 level who really wants to dig into the subject but not be overwhelmed.
Crystal Chapman
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educational
I recently took a wine course as a part of my current curriculum. My teacher Mr. Ragouzeos - a well known NC teacher/connoisseur - rocked! His knowledge coupled with this book made the class a "tipsy" pleasure - smile. Although I do not drink (and plugged my nose to swallow most of the wines during the tastings), I left with a grand appreciation for not only the art of wine, wine making, the appellations, food pairing, but for this history as well as biblical knowledge drawn from it. Who knew? T ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wine-food
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you enjoy wine and have not read a copy of this book since it's first publication way back in the 70s, go find a copy now! Kevin takes you through all the areas of the wine world, covers reds/whites/Roses/Ports/Sparklers/Desserts, covers info on food pairings, and gives you the opportunity (with no small investment) to reproduce his wine course yourself. The book closes with a history of the restaurant Windows on the World, which sadly, is no longer around as well as some of her staff who per ...more
Carlos Anderson
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book that gives you just enough about each region of wine to want more. I found the multiple types of information (Food pairing suggestions by well-known wine producers, various facts littering the sides of pages, etc.) to be extremely delightful and most of all informative and useful. The suggested further reading that closes each chapter/class is also extremely useful and practically just exhorts you to extend your wine knowledge. It is lacking in depth in some places, i found the ital ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great resource for anyone wanting an overview on wine. As a wine student, I liked having it as a resource and study aide, but it was also a really enjoyable read. I liked the little tips sprinkled throughout and that the writing wasn't overly technical. This is especially great for beginners.

I checked out some of the videos that you can click on via QR codes and URLS throughout the book, but I didn't find them overwhelmingly helpful. I didn't watch them all, though, so it may have jus
Don't go for this one if you are a beginner, it's a bit confusing; I found the style inaccessible outside of the classroom setting. This book might work well for a group of people who used it as a text book for their own wine course, but as an at home read I found it difficult to follow. I also found Zraly's style to be a bit stuffy, especially in comparison to Oz Clarke who writes about wine with an understanding that different people experience wines differently. He gives you context. Zraly se ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative book. Purchased the newest edition to have information on Oregon and Washington wines. There was very little information on the white wines of both states and absolutely none on the reds. With Oregon producing world class Pinot noir, this is an extreme oversight. I had a previous edition of this book and do not feel the update was worth the purchase.

That being said, overall the book is an excellent tool. Had he even included the pacific north west wines in the reds section, I would
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolute encylopedia. There is so much information in here - on the different regions, different varieties etc. It's definitely on of those books you need to keep on hand to go back and refer to when needed. If there's something you want to know about wine, I'm sure it's in here and if not I'm sure you will find it in the list of recommended further reading on each topic that the author gives.
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-drink
A comprehensive book that walks you through various wine-making areas in eight "classes." The back of the book includes the listing of wines that the author actually uses in his classes, as well as additional information. A great overview with references to additional books for many types of wine if you want more in-depth knowledge.

The author was the head sommelier at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the WTC.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-16
So, I took a wine course and this was the book.

It's a fine book, well organized and packed with information.

I dunno, I still think wine's mostly bullshit and hype but if you're into maps and lists and trivia about your beverage, this book has all that and more.

Recommended to industry types, I guess?
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent guide to wines from around the world. Great for beginners just getting into wine. Doesn't really tell you much about what to expect flavor/taste-wise from the different wines, but great for learning to recognize the different levels of quality as well as the geography of where they come from.
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
A quick and easy read that provides a lot of interesting and helpful information on wine for someone such as me who is little more than a beginner on the subject. It describes the various types, where they are grown, how to understand the differences in quality, how to select which to buy, etc. I was fully satified with it!
Mike Crawford
A very large book about wine, very informative and a good read. It mixes litlle blurbs of interest in the margins that add to an overall enjoyment of the book. It is not nearly complete however but instead looks at major wine producing areas of the world. This is most understandable because it would take several volumes and more than one auther to cover such a vast subject.
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: other winos/oenophiles
As a wine diva, (my official title) I must be able to discuss el vino intelligently and at length, especially when I'm pouring for a wine tasting! Zraly keeps it interesting - there's geography, history,his recommended food pairings, and much more. It's utterly unpretentious for a wine guide and I'm quite pleased I was able to learn so much for the low cost of $7.99. (thanks, Frugal Muse!)
Tracey Williams
Make no mistake, this is a textbook. There are no protagonists, antagonists, plots or sub-plots. Just the grapes and the land. That being said, it was a good resource to really learn more about wine. My knowledge was a mix of hearsay & Wikipedia so this book was a welcome guide. The author's background story is really interesting. On the whole, not bad for a Barnes & Noble bargain book!
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to study wine on their own at their own pace
Shelves: wine
A classic! Updated every year as a tribute to the author's colleagues who tragically died in the Windows on the World restaurant at New York's World trade Center on 9/11.

Excellent graphic presentation facilitates learning. Open a bottle of your new favorite, sit back with this book, and enjoy!
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
short but densely informative read. i feel as this is the only book on wine that i will ever have to read and yet it makes me want to learn more about wine as well.

i read an older edition of this book & the German section only has a map of West Germany i thought that was funny. i also thought the little sidebar section about champagne pet peeves was both funny & informative.
Warren Peace
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Along, long time ago in a Galaxy far far away from any children or any real concerns, my wife bought me this book. It became my Wine Bible. I cannot say enough about this book. You become completely educated about wine from Country of origin, region, grape type, and most importantly on how to intelligently read a label. Obviously the Author knows of what he speaks.
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