The foreword by Alfred Fromm is a giveaway that this is a commercial hype. The firm of Fromm & Sichel is sole distributor for Christian Brothers wines, so you expect the occasional plugs that made this book possible and the corresponding belittling of the European vins ordinaires. Mittelberger is the director of The Wine Museum of San Francisco (a Fromm project) -- the source for the 275 illustrations to which this text seems to have been tailored. The authors relate wine to western culture, drawing on myth and ecclesiastical history; discuss viticulture, ""the romance of harvesting,"" vinification, blending (the Christian Brothers' specialty), cooperage; and they offer the usual advice on buying, tasting and serving, following the California line that it's O.K. to drink whites with meat, reds with fish, anything you like, as long as you buy some kind of wine. Intended for an unsophisticated palate, your money would be better spent for a good bottle than on this picture book.