Book Review: "How To Drink Australian," by Jane Lopes and Jonathon Ross

This is the Australian wine book we didn’t know we needed, until now.

Unless you’ve visited, the sheer vastness and diversity of Australia can be challenging to grapple with, and modern Australia was established upon a land with an existing First Nation culture spanning back over 50,000 years.

This here is old country, brimming with new ideas.

How To Drink Australian captures the enormity, the diversity and the magnitude of this country, and it propels us headlong into the world of people, maps, terroir and history. For the nerds among us, the maps within each chapter detail not just the location of the estates but also key vineyards, which provides invaluable insight to the regions. But perhaps most importantly, this book provides us with relevant, modern context to the places and the personalities. Australia has no appellation control laws, and there’s an inherent “can-do” mentality among its people.

Every couple of pages, nestled within the text, are snippets of information (shaded in a lighter hue of the chapter color), sidenotes really, describing things from “tall poppies” to “country pubs,” and everything in between. As an Australian, these are both amusing and accurate, and as a reader, they’re really quite addictive.

The photography has a uniquely Australian feel and captures the bounty and the size of this place, while the illustrations by Robin Crowcher are a breath of fresh air, effectively breaking up the content and neatly reflecting each of the subjects. The contributors Kavita Faiella, Mike Bennie and Hannah Day are erudite, eloquent and a credit to the authors Jane Lopes and Jonathon Ross.

If you seek to understand this immense place, you must start here. Australia has come an awfully long way from its early beginnings in wine, and it continues to evolve and develop in immeasurably significant leaps as a premium winemaking nation. The history is proud, the future is bright and everything we need to know about where we’ve been and where we are headed can be found right here, in the pages of How To Drink Australian. It’s a ripper read and a must-have for any serious wine lover.

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