Explore Wine Maps: World Edition Review – Great for Students

Published by Jeremy.

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When it comes to wine books, we have many favorites from books for those with passive interests in wine all the way to those who want atlas-level tomes with great detail.

But if you are studying wine, particularly in structured programs that have exams, these book are often not the best as the programs want you to stick to the source materials as best as possible. In these situations, 3rd party resources are often frowned upon since they can differ from official material drastically.

During my WSET studies, one book in particular jumped out as being incredibly helpful- Amble Wine's Explore Wine Maps: World Edition book.

While this book is an unofficial, 3rd party resource, the format, layout, and language used matched up to those found in the WSET program nicely and really helped me improve my learnings of geography, grape characteristics, and more!

So while this book could make for a great coffee-table book for all wine fans, for students, particularly students in WSET Diploma, it is a must-have resource.

The World Wine Map Book is Incredibly Beautiful

Amble Wine Map Book

As far as wine books are concerned, Amble Wine's Explore Wine Maps: World Edition book is a pretty stellar one.

The book is split into several sections, with two of the largest focusing on wine regions and grapes.

The wine regions section of the book features beautifully drawn maps of many countries and wine regions around the world, showing where PDOs are, major geographical formations (mountains, oceans, rivers, etc.), commentary on climate, and lists of commonly grown grapes.

These charts are formatted in such a way that makes for an easy dive into popular wine regions, and for students, take many of the crucial details you are learning and put it on an easy-to-flip-through book- much better than the organization structure in books provided by WSET and others, we must admit.

Grape Section

The grapes section is organized a bit more like an encyclopedia of grapes with commentary on things like ripening times (early vs late), skin thickness (thin to thick), and a selection of dry-tasting notes that are commonly expected as well. This section is quite robust, uses lexicon you may be used to if in the WSET program (albeit at times not complete), and could considered be a bit too data-oriented for casual readers. That said, it is an easy-to-flip-through resource for the most commonly grown grapes all the same.

Is this a wine book that is for everyone? It could be. But we must admit it boils down a lot of commentary into easy-to-read resources. Would some benefit from more robust books with more written commentary about regions? Absolutely. But for those who are studying wine, particularly in advanced programs like the WSET Diploma (which has a wealth of resources to go with it), this book is a great supplement- even if unofficially.

The Study Book is a Great Add-On for Wine Students

Amble Wines Workbook

One of my favorite parts about Amble Wine's world wine map book is that you can also purchase a blank workbook for use in studying.

The workbook features blank maps of all of the wine regions covered in the main book, and students can then fill in the maps to help drive home the geographical elements learned in class.

For some, the act of writing out information is a learning mechanism, and transposing the regions and grapes over to a map is a great way to commit important details to memory. Saying that a PDO is near the coast and has oceanic influences is one thing, but writing it out on a map where you can visualize the orientation helps drive the point home even more. As a visual learner, this was quite key to my studies.

I also liked to take the maps one step further and add my own notations to the workbook beyond what was already included. I'd take green colored pencils and add in where forests are, brown colored pencils to denote mountains/altitude, and use red and blue colored pencils to draw arrows of prevailing warming and cooling winds- all based on language found in the WSET source material.

This let me form a clearer mental picture of all of the major wine regions and all of the geographical considerations that go along with each. Why do different grapes grow in the north and south of Sardinia, for example? Well, there are cooling winds coming from the north in the Mediterranean and warming winds coming from the Sahara in Africa, which influence growing. Adding markings for winds helped me remember that little detail even more, as it was likely something I never would've committed to memory otherwise.

For those who are visual learners, putting these elements on a map is incredibly useful as you can piece together the logical connections come exam day!

The One Downside to the Book? It Isn't Branded to Any Program

Amble Wine Book

To end this one, it is worth one final reminder that Amble Wine is a 3rd party that is not an official partner of any wine program. While we found this resource incredibly helpful for WSET Diploma studies, it is always a risk when branching out and using non-official resources outside of WSET- you will only be tested on material found in the WSET books, after all.

The biggest detail of note to highlight here, particularly in reference to WSET Diploma, is that the Explore Wine Maps: World Edition book likely covers more regions and smaller PDOs than you will see in the source material.

For example, the book contained Switzerland, Savoie in France, and many other regions that were not included in my D3 course material. Ensuring you are not inadvertently studying something that is not testable is always key to be aware of. Likewise, while the book includes some regions known for fortified and sparkling wine, I found this one most helpful for the D3 still wines module.

Still, although the book overlaps with a lot of WSET content in terms of grapes, regions, and even word choices used, it is not perfect. As such, it is our stance that whenever you use any 3rd party resource, be prepared to cross-reference details with official WSET sources if you ever are confused. You're tested on the WSET material, not 3rd parties, after all, and when in doubt I'd almost always defer to what WSET says as a result!

Looking to Buy the Workbook in the USA? Check Palate Partners

Amble Wine Study Book

Finally, if you are looking to pick up Amble Wines map book in the USA, you may find that ordering it is a bit tricky- the book was produced in France and is mostly distributed in Europe (unless you want to pay for expensive shipping, about 40 Euro for me at the time of publishing, available here). Conventional sources for other books, like Amazon, did not carry this one at the time of publishing our review.

Thankfully, our local APP in Pittsburgh, Palate Partners, whose owner I was fortunate enough to study WSET Diploma with, is a USA-based distributor of this book (and they are the reason I found out about it to begin with)!

At this time, Palate Partners typically only sells the book in-person; however, if you would like to make an order, please contact them directly for a quote. Note that they only are able to ship to the continental USA at this time. Tell them The Grape Pursuit sent you as well!

Overall, Amble Wine's Explore Wine Maps: World Edition is a perfect book for those who are taking a deep dive into wine and are looking for an easy-to-follow resource summarizing important details about grapes and geography in particular. If you are studying an advanced wine program, especially WSET Diploma, this one was a wonderful tool in my study arsenal and the accompanying workbook really helped me take my studying to the next level to earn a highly sought after pass!

Did you purchase Amble Wine's Explore Wine Maps: World Edition to study? What did you think of it? Comment below to share!

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