Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2018 has just been published. It is the 41st edition of the world’s best selling wine book. It is written by Hugh Johnson, the English wine writer, who is the world’s most famous and prolific wine writer, and is translated into many different languages. Twelve million copies of this book have been sold worldwide. The 2018 edition is fully revised, updated and expanded. Howard G. Goldberg of the New York Times is quoted on the back cover: “Space for only one wine book in your life? This is it.”
The main news as far as Israel is concerned is that no less than 34 Israeli wineries are listed and Tzora Vineyards has been promoted to the prestigious ‘Four Star’ rating. This is the ultimate in this particular book, which rates wineries rather than wines. Now Tzora joins Flam Winery with four stars outright, whilst Domaine du Castel, Clos de Gat and Margalit Winery have three to four stars each.
For many years no Israeli winery was considered worthy of Four Stars until Castel became the first Israeli winery to achieve it, a feat it repeated for a number of consecutive years. For five Israeli wineries to receive a Four Star rating, reflects enormous credit on the wineries themselves and on the Israeli wine industry. Four Stars means ‘grand, prestigious, expensive’. To put it into context, Chateau Lafite Rothschild from France, Gaja from Italy and Vega Sicilia from Spain receive Four Stars.
In other changes, Sphera and Shvo have been promoted to Three Stars and join Lewinsohn, Recanati and Yatir, rounding out a ‘top ten’. Feldstein, Jezreel Valley, Kishor, Mia Luce, and Yaacov Oryah are all listed for the first time.
Hugh Johnson uses the services of a number of specialists who assist in the countries or regions of their expertise. Adam Montefiore, wine industry veteran & the wine writer for the Jerusalem Post Newspaper and Gal Zohar, the wine consultant, sommelier & wine educator, share the responsibilities of Israel and Adam Montefiore also assists with the Eastern Mediterranean region. The book is edited by Margaret Rand, edited and designed by Mitchell Beazley and published by the Octopus Publishing Group in London. There it retails for ₤12.99, but it is also available in bookshops around the world and from Amazon.
Photograph of Hugh Johnson: Esa Korjula