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"Is wine an arbitrary product that should simply be left to conventional market mechanisms? Or is it a multifaceted cultural asset whose complexity defies mundane assessments?" From this - rhetorically pointed - question, the Berlin author Rainer Balcerowiak, political editor and wine columnist of the left-wing daily newspaper "Junge Welt", develops an enjoyable, intelligent essay about genuine wine culture, herd instinct, bigotry and globalization.

His book is not the umpteenth guidebook with tips that have already been read umpteen times, but a plea for a wine culture that is unprejudiced in every respect, in 21 chapters. In a casual tone, sometimes nicely flippant, occasionally finely ironic, he develops a personal, pointed and (self-)critical view on wine and its players: producers, associations, traders, advertising and marketing experts as well as journalists.