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Here’s cheers to a new edition of A Top Drop

A Top Drop

Cheers: author Ian Bailey with A Top Drop

A Top Drop is not for everyone, but it would also be fair to say that it has something for everyone.

“Everyone’’ being those of us who enjoy a drop of wine from time to time.

A Top Drop – The Essential Guide to Choosing and Buying Wine, to give it its full title, was first published more than 10 years ago.

But given the phenomenal changes which have taken place in the industry since, the authors, Liverpool’s own Ian Bailey, and Ian Powrie, decided that a revised edition was fully warranted.

Their aim remains more or less the same: to educate us lesser mortals how to drink better wines and save money at the same time.

I feel that as a wine lover I am about halfway on my journey of discovering what there is to discover about wine. Thus, I found A Top Drop useful to me in parts.

For example, the authors, the two Ians, discuss how an organised approach to purchasing wine is very important. This is something that I both agree with, and already do to a fair degree.

But I can see that for someone a little early in their journey of discovery this approach would be very useful.

As the Ians say, it seems like a lot of work, but once you start doing it and you end up drinking better wines as a result of your smarter buying habits, it will not seem so hard after all.

To get more satisfaction from your purchases, the authors suggest, in the preface to the revised edition, “some basic knowledge is required – about your own drinking profile, about wine itself, and how to read and understand labels and the suppliers available to you, such as bottle shops, wine clubs and hotels.’’

I also agree with them when they say that “we need an organised approach to buying wine, even if you are the type of wine drinker who only buys one bottle occasionally to take to a dinner party.’’

After a few more words of wisdom, the book explains how wine is made in part one, as well as wine regions and vineyards, food and wine and cellaring.

It’s in part two they get into the wine buying game plan, and where part of the appeal of the book lies in.

This includes a questionnaire about the reader’s drinking and buying habits, if they have a budget for wine purchases, before proceeding to explain how to work out a budget.

I found part of this a little technical when they included the role of alcohol levels, but nonetheless easy to follow and I could see where they were coming from.

Their formula is really interesting because it’s relatively realistic and should be useful for most of us, as I found.

There is much more in this book, including a very good index, indeed one so excellent you can dip in and out of the book as the need arises.

Which is another reason this book may not be for everyone but it does have something for everyone in it.

A Top Drop

The essential guide

to choosing and buying wine

Ian Bailey and Ian Powrie

New Holland Publishers

Contact the author, Ian Bailey, for more information where you can purchase the book.

His email is

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