32 Books in 32 Days – Day Five

Each day leading up to the April 17 announcement of the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature

General Nonfiction finalist,
Drink This: Wine Made Simple
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl


Excerpt from Drink This: Wine Made Simple:

The same rules hold true for wine as for the rest of human taste: some people like chocolate cake, and some people like apple pie … The only difference is that when it comes to wine there are people at the top saying: My favorite chocolate cake, 98 points … Most people think critical scores are objective things … they’re really just some guy’s opinion, and just because some guy tells you that he likes some particular chocolate cake, or Cabernet Sauvignon, is no reason to alter your behavior … The reason you want what you want is because of your taste. The real problem with new wine drinkers is simply that they don’t know what their taste is, because they haven’t tasted all the representative wine styles.

This thorough and informative, yet fun and witty guide to wine teaches its reader everything: from pairing food and wine to understanding the complete process involved in winemaking, and the basics of tasting wine. In addition to revealing her own experiences and knowledge, Grumdahl interviews some of the world’s most renowned wine critics, winemakers, and chefs. The book shows the reader how to stop being intimidated by the vast variety of wines available and instead learn how to discover, enjoy, and feel proud of your own personal taste in wine. Grumdahl also shows the reader how to get the best wine for your buck.


Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is senior editor of Minnesota Monthly and editor in chief of Real Food. She also regularly contributes to other publications and has won four James Beard Awards for her “Dear Dara” columns, which cover restaurant criticism and wine.

In January 2010, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, was a guest on America Public Media’s The Splendid Table®, where she shared her wine tasting tips. The recorded broadcast and excerpts from her new book are available here.


“An engaging read even for non-wine lovers. Moskovitz is respectfully encouraging of the reader, helpful, endlessly informative, never condescending, witty. Takes seriously her task of educating wine tasters, but never takes wines or herself too seriously. Strikes just the right tone for the topic.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge

“Most wine books have left me feeling like I am bringing a knife to a swordfight, completely underprepared. Not this one. Drink This is what I’ve been waiting for. Finally, a must-have book for the vino-challenged! For over a decade I have relied on Dara Grumdahl’s insight and common-sense wisdom regarding all matters related to food and wine, and now, luckily, so can everyone else with this helpful, funny and accessible guide to determining your favorite wines.” – Andrew Zimmern

“If you haven’t read Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl every week, you have missed the reason we humans have opposable thumbs: They’re there so you can keep turning her pages. With Dara doing a wine book, the days are over of buying bottles because the labels match your home-team colors. Be bamboozled and intimidated no more. Dara is about to give you the best and easiest kind of wine smarts, and a good read in the bargain.” – Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of “The Splendid Table”


Award winners will be announced at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Have you read Drink This? What are your thoughts? Did you vote for the Readers’ Choice Award? We welcome your comments!

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One comment on “32 Books in 32 Days – Day Five
  1. Jeff Walkup says:

    I have long been a fan of Dara’s food and wine reviews, having first discovered her restaurant reviews in City Pages, the Twin Cities alternative weekly, in 1996. Today, I still find her reviews witty and entertaining, whether it be on a local television station or in her new book, Drink This: Wine Made Simple, which is nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. Confused about all the decisions to make about what wines to pair with food or what wine to choose? I can confess that when I go to purchase wine, I go blank and wait for a bottle to find me. For some reason, I get lost in wine selection. Her new book provides information and tools to help figure out what works and what we like, making our lives less complicated in choosing a wine. And, she’s still witty!

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