A versatile and competent writer whose interests are not confined to this particular area- and whose light touch and humour and refusal to be classified makes him entertaining reading. This time he takes the ""wine snobs"" over the hurdles, and sets out to prove that American wines should not be sneered at. He talks of wines in general and wines in particular, of imported wines and the home variety. If- as is claimed- America is becoming a wine drinking nation, people should know the basic and salient facts about wines. Despite the vast range of names, varieties, vintages etc. there are actually just five main classes. Of some 524 U.S.A. wineries, California rates first in number, and the bulk of this text is taken up with a tour of the wineries of California, county by county, district by district. Prior to this winery tour Mr. Beck tells of the producing areas of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal- of the official classifications and ratings- and he ends by listing what he considers the best of the California wines. The most useful chapter in the book tells how to select wines, what are their characteristics and what to look for.