Once again Stevie Kim & co.  is breaking new ground with a new e-book initiative titled Italian Wine Unplugged: Grape by Grape. You can order an advance copy on Amazon reader here.

Part textbook, part reference and all required reading for anyone involved in Italian wine and the international wine business.

Stevie and her team of co-authors including Geralyn Brostrom, Lingzi He, Michaela Morris, Michele Longo, J.C. Viens under the direction of and Ian D’Agata, have produced something truly unique in wine publishing:  A useful book written in a language normal people can understand…and share.

The strategy is pretty cool too.  They’ve just released an advance copy requesting feedback, comments, corrections etc. and will be incorporating them into the final version.  The book is meant to distributed principally digitally, but they will be printing some hard copies for folks like me who prefer paper and ink reference books for their libraries.

I particularly like the way the book is organized with the “must-know” top 120 of the 591 recognized indigenous Italian grape varieties in the front, and the remaining varieties grouped together later.  Yes, one could argue the question whether 120 varieties really qualify as “must know”, however I suppose for the students in the Maestro class it makes sense, ergo the flash cards.

The copy is well-written and pays particular attention in each section to the importance and influence of geography of the region and location of the vineyards.  Having traveled recently in Prosecco-land and Piemonte I’ve seen first hand just how important that is.

I also like the mind maps by J.C. Viens…a very useful graphic that helps the reader understand the relationship of the varietal heritage, characteristics and the wines that each produces.

The team also acknowledges Ian D’Agata who is Scientific Director of the Wine Grapes of Italy (Univ. of California Press, 2014 and winner of the 2015 Louis International Wine Writers’ Award as Book of the Year) and inspirational guru for the pr.oject.

But that’s not all!  Inn a feature newly added this week you can find a YouTube link to  a handy “Italian Grape of the Day” pronunciation tool.