Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine

Do you know to order Pinot Noir to please a table? Or to drink Prosecco and other bubbly throughout a meal? Or that Costco is one of America’s best wine retailers? Or to offer a taste to your server when you BYOB?

Probably not, because most wine books just make you work too hard to glean out choice nuggets of information.

Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, published by Penguin Books and in its sixth printing, is here to change all of that. In the book, wine educator and entrepreneur Mark Oldman lovingly synthesizes fifteen years of teaching wine into 108 streamlined shortcuts.

Here’s what makes Oldman’s Guide different:

Painless learning: Oldman’s Guide distills the normally convoluted body of wine knowledge to 108 pithy, memorable “Shortcuts,” each followed by about two pages of engaging, need-to-know information. It covers everything from “Don’t Sniff the Cork” to “Order Wine with this One Simple Phrase” to wine types such as, “Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruity Tart and ‘Freshly Mown’”.

Unbiased: Because wine is not Mark’s primary business (although he has been teaching it for sixteen years), he brings an independent perspective to the task. He is beholden to no winery, distributor, wine shop, publication, or restaurant.

Practical and pro-consumer: Mark’s day job – as founding partner of career publisher Vault, Inc. ( – focuses on giving millions of people the “inside scoop” on employers and industries. In Oldman’s Guide, he applies the same pro-consumer approach to the murky world of wine. Readers receive over 500 wine recommendations at all price points, including his lists of the Faithful 50 lists of best values in red and white wine. He also covers the ideal wines for Thanksgiving, St. Valentine’s Day and 20 other occasions, from holiday gift-giving to weddings.

Celebrity inspiration: To inspire readers to broaden their wine horizons, Mark surveyed the wine preferences of a glittering assortment of wine-passionate luminaries, from Jay McInerney (who advises Viognier puts one “in the mood for romance”), Francis Ford Coppola, and Greg Norman to Tori Amos (who simply adores red Bordeaux), Geddy Lee, and even rap-star Ludacris (who advises one not to “guzzle your Cristal”). This survey -- which also encompasses the personal recommendations of dozens of leading winemakers, sommeliers, chefs, and importers -- reveals some surprising trends about which wines insiders prefer. Champagne and Riesling, for example, proved to be wildly popular, while varietal Chardonnay and Merlot are far less desired.

Read more about Oldman's Guide:

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Media Quotes

 [Oldman is] the ever-entertaining wine guru

Miami magazine


two-time winner

"An excellent primer…the perfect book for someone who’s just caught the bug, or would like to...informative and entertaining. Oldman knows his stuff, but he also enlists an army of chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and celebrities to help him demystify the subject...Oldman’s breezy, literate prose and his facility with pop culture metaphors makes for easy reading. Among a number of memorable phrases here, I particularly liked his description of Priorat—the powerful, minerally red from Spain—as ‘Unslim Slatey.’"

Jay McInernery, The Wall Street Journal

“Best Book of the Year"

Apple iTunes, 1 of 6 books featured in “Cookbooks, Food, & Wine" (along with Bourdain and Bittman)

"…Oldman nails it again…just when you think every possible nook and cranny of the wine 101 book category has been explored, out comes a book that takes a unique and valuable spin on the beginner to intermediate wine genre…His writing voice is warm, down-to-earth and accessible and the book itself is peppered with short chapters on varietals…widely available at good wine shops, but also mostly sitting under a layer of dust based on non-familiarity and our own ruts of wine drinking with the familiar…the book is very thoughtfully laid out and a valuable read as a primer on varietals that even the most ardent wine enthusiast likely aren’t too familiar with…the book lives up to its promise…"

Good Grape: A Wine Blog Manifesto

"A similar mind-set enriches "Oldman's Brave New World of Wine," in which Mark Oldman examines lesser-known but not obscure varietals. This book would be a great gift for beginners and especially for anyone in a malbec or chardonnay rut, thanks to Oldman's clear writing, understanding of context, and (most important, of course) great palate."

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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Press Coverage

New York Sun
The Anti-Snob

Review of Oldman's Guide

Wine Savvy In 108 Steps: A guide offers shortcuts to a connoiseur's confidence

Wine Enthusiast
Enthusiast Crib Notes

New York Post

More press coverageGo

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