Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 14, 2012.

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A plain English guide to wine, with every concept transformed into a true multimedia experience. A new era for an old drink.

What is Wine Simplified and why is it special?

Wine Simplified is your gateway to understanding wine. Without the pretense. Without the jibberish. Call it the “Sesame Street of Wine.” With its sections organized around relevance to wine drinkers instead of importance to winemakers, this e-book focuses on developing your wine skills instead of loading you down with wine data.

Even better, the whole thing is being exclusively made for the iPad and iPhone, and it will include features not possible in a regular ol’ book. This means video tastings and tutorials, interactive guided tours, and audio pronunciation guides.

Unlike most preachy wine books, Wine Simplified uses intuitive visual explanations and practical generalizations to decode one of the world’s most tantalizing but complicated topics. I untangle wine’s thorniest conundrums with cheerful doses of common sense and plain English. If you can picture how peaches change in flavor as they ripen on the tree, then you can easily grasp the flavor shift found in wines from chilly Northern Italy to sunny California.

Wine Simplified will teach you:

  • What to look for in a wine label’s small print that can give you a big hint about how it will taste.
  • How to choose wines that flatter food like a pro thanks to the simple logic of sensory science, moving well beyond clichés like “white with fish, red with meat.”
  • Why red wines and white wines look and taste so different (Hint: It’s not the color of the grapes!)
  • How to talk about what we taste so you can feel more confident describing what you like and don’t like.
  • And much, much more!

Who is writing Wine Simplified?

Marnie Old
Marnie Old

I am a sommelier and wine author, and I currently write a wine column for the Philadelphia Daily News called “Cheap Buzz,” and a column in the trade magazine Sommelier Journal on pairing wine and food. My most recent book, Wine Secrets, is a popular collection of concise, practical advice shared by 40 top wine experts. I also co-authored He Said Beer, She Said Wine, a debate on food pairing with Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. I am a regular presenter at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., and previously, I was Director of Wine Studies at renowned French Culinary Institute in New York.

What have I done so far?

In conjunction with Open Air Publishing (more on them later!), I have already written 90% of the manuscript, shot 40 videos for the book, started templates for the some of the chapters, and begun initial designs for the dozens of infographics included as part of this interactive experience. Some examples below.

CAPTION: The high acidity of wine is one of the reasons it pairs so well with most foods, especially food that is salty and high in fat. This graphic shows wine's acidity relative to other drinks.
CAPTION: The high acidity of wine is one of the reasons it pairs so well with most foods, especially food that is salty and high in fat. This graphic shows wine's acidity relative to other drinks.
CAPTION: Fermentation is the process that transforms sugar into alcohol. The longer a wine is allowed to ferment, the less sweet the wine will taste. This graphic shows the inverse relationship between sugar and alcohol content.
CAPTION: Fermentation is the process that transforms sugar into alcohol. The longer a wine is allowed to ferment, the less sweet the wine will taste. This graphic shows the inverse relationship between sugar and alcohol content.

What will the money be used for?

Photos: This book is going to need hundreds of photos to help it come to life, and those photos don't come for free. We need props, locations, models, and possibly even travel for original photography straight from Napa, Sonoma, or international locations. The more money I raise, the more amazing photos my publisher and I can commission. 

Graphics: A huge component to my teaching philosophy is the way I use visual imagery to convey complex ideas quickly and easily. Thus far, I have made do with smart imagery cobbled together with powerpoint and pop art. For this book, we want to do this right: Hire professional graphic designers and create the most amazing graphics about wine the world has ever seen. You already saw the small handful we've mocked up already, but there are many, many more that need to be made. 

Book parties: Wine education for all! Any overflow money for this campaign not spent on artwork will be used to spread the word about Wine Simplified, and bring my unique brand of “vin-lightenment” to as many people as possible. A little money will help us spread the word along the East Coast. More would allow us to road trip to the West Coast.

Who’s publishing Wine Simplified? 

While Marnie is the brains behind the wine knowledge, Open Air Publishing puts the whole thing together. Open Air Publishing is a small digital startup that creates original, how-to e-books designed for the iPad and iPhone, and they have published five other books for iOS:

Wine Simplified is Open Air Publishing's biggest launch to date. We can’t wait, but we also can’t do it without you! Please pledge and help us make the wine book we’ve all been dreaming of.

Like Wine Simplified on Facebook, and follow Open Air Publishing and Marnie Old on Twitter @openairbooks and @marnieold.

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    Non-Mobile Package - Don’t have an iPhone or iPad but still want to take part in the wine fun? We will send you PDFs of infographics featured in the book and exclusive access to Marnie’s video tutorials for your contribution.

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    Wine Enthusiast Package - All of the above, plus a pre-order of Wine Simplified. Designed for those of you who love wine and have an iPhone or iPad (or perhaps a lucky friend/family member who does).

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    Wine & Spirits Package - All of above plus a copy of Speakeasy Cocktails, Open Air Publishing’s hit iPad/iPhone book about how to make your own classic cocktails.

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    Food Pairing Package - All of the above plus a copy of either The Better Bacon Book, Open Air Publishing’s iPad/iPhone book on DIY bacon, OR Open Air Publishing upcoming book on knife skills, walking you through all the tips and tricks to becoming a confident home cook.

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    Analog Package - All of above plus a signed hardcover copy of Wine Secrets, Marnie’s latest book sharing concise and practical wine advice. Sometimes you just want the feel of a real book in your hands.

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    Artsy Wine Package - All of above plus copy of a Wine Periodic Table poster. So we don’t actually know if it’s going to look like an actual periodic table, but it will definitely be something beautiful and informative that you can frame, put on your wall, and use to impress your friends.

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    Live Stream Package - All of above plus access to an online wine class and Q&A with Marnie. Available to anyone w/ an internet connection, Marnie will host a live streaming course similar to one of her many in-person classes. Then ask her any wine questions your mind can muster.

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    Lifeline Package - All of above plus a direct line to Marnie for personal wine consulting. Marnie’s expert services run $150 an hour. At a fraction of the cost, you get three opportunities to pick Marnie’s brain - perfect for planning your next big party, getting personalized buying recommendations, organizing a day in wine country, or as the foundation for everlasting education.

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    Philly Party Package - Lifeline Package plus invitation for two to launch party in Philly. Hobnob with other wine enthusiasts and spend time with Marnie. Good wine will be served and better company will be had.

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    NYC Party Package - Lifeline Package plus invitation for two to launch party in NYC. Just like the Philly party, but farther north.

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    Media Elite Party Package - NYC Party Package plus access to VIP wine seminar before the launch party. This is a special event for a small handful of journalists, tastemakers, and you. The event will be held right before the NYC launch party.

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    Private Party Package - The Media Elite Party Package (or the Philly package) plus Marnie's services for a private party. Great for corporate events, an engagement party, or if you really, really love wine!

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Funding period

- (21 days)