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A coffee table book of amazing photographs about the flavors and aromas that make wine magical. With wine recommendations and essays.

This book is unlike any wine book ever produced. It is first an art book — an incredible collection of intimate images and accompanying prose that celebrate the different individual flavors and aromas found in wine. It is also an educational book and a wine guide, directing readers to easily findable wines that can broaden their horizons as wine drinkers.

The book will appeal to anyone who enjoys indulging their senses, from the foodie who wants a wine book that doesn’t read like a dictionary, to the wine novice looking to educate their palate. Even the wine connoisseur will return again and again to savor the beauty of these images with wine glass in hand and the book in their lap.

Pre-order this high-quality, 150-page hardcover book today with a backing pledge of $70 or more. If you want to give the book as a gift for the holidays, I'll send you a nice PDF card you can give to recipients while they wait for their book.

An early mockup. Not the actual book design.
An early mockup. Not the actual book design.

Introducing The Essence of Wine by Alder Yarrow

The Essence of Wine showcases 47 individual aromas and flavors. Each flavor is lovingly captured in an image, and described in a short essay. I then recommend a number of wines to buy that regularly showcase that particular essence.

The book will also contain several essays about some of the more elusive aspects of wine that transcend individual flavors, such as how wine transforms over time.

Initial sketch layout of interior page.
Initial sketch layout of interior page.
One of the book's essays, entitled Wine Over Time, about what time does to wine and what we can learn from it.
One of the book's essays, entitled Wine Over Time, about what time does to wine and what we can learn from it.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I've been writing about wine professionally for ten years on my James Beard Award Nominated blog, Vinography.Com.

In January of 2012 I began a collaboration with award-winning food photographer Leigh Beisch and art director Sara Slavin. The idea was to celebrate some of the singular flavors and aromas found in wine with a gorgeous photograph and a bit of prose. I called this series of vignettes The Essence of Wine, and it quickly became one of the more popular features.

Over the course of this project we’ve explored flavors from wet stones to violets to cured meats to the salty sea air. If you’re interested in seeing more of the images and essays, check out the preceding links, or you can see a list of all the posts in the series on my blog here.

After capturing 47 of these images we’ve decided to turn the series into a book. Because these images are so rich, we’ve opted to produce an extremely high-quality, large format hardcover book.

Pears and Graphite. Two of the many flavors featured in the book.
Pears and Graphite. Two of the many flavors featured in the book.

How will the book be produced?

The book will be designed by a professional book designer and printed in a custom print run by the company Blurb, whose print-on-demand books have set the standard for personal publishing.

For those, like me, concerned with the details of such things, the book will be a 12" by 12" hardcover book with a durable library binding and 8 pt. black linen covers made of a hard-wearing cotton blend that has been coated with water-based acrylic for extra resiliency. The book will feature a laminated 4-color dust jacket with front and back flaps and a printed spine.

The book will be offset printed on the highest quality photo paper I can get, most likely Mohawk ProLine Pearl Photo, 140#.

As someone who makes his living running a design agency, the design and print quality of this book remain of paramount importance to me. I have selected Blurb as the printer for the book because of the quality of their product, which is almost indistinguishable from the kind of hardcover coffee table book you'd find in a bookstore.

For those who prefer to read their books digitally these days, I will also be producing a high-resolution eBook version as well. Those who opt for the eBook version will be able to get their hands on it earlier than the physical book.

Have you ever had a wine that tasted of umami, the fifth taste? What about a wine that tasted like chocolate? I'll point you in the right direction.
Have you ever had a wine that tasted of umami, the fifth taste? What about a wine that tasted like chocolate? I'll point you in the right direction.

What will the money be used for?

I will use the money to pay for a professional copy editor, a designer and for the costs of printing the book itself. If I exceed my goal I may also have a little room to make some upgrades to the hardcover book, including custom-colored and textured end pages, etc. 

Because the production costs for a big, image-intensive book such as this are quite high, the quantity printed has a huge impact on price. My goal is to print at least 700 copies of the book, which would be the minimum required by the printer. This Kickstarter campaign won't necessarily pay for that entire initial print run (which will end up costing around $30k), but if it is successful, it will be enough to get me over the hump and begin selling the book to recoup the costs.

The retail price for this book in a winery tasting room or wine shop would likely be $80 given how expensive it is to produce.

The exotic and slightly elusive flavors of lychee and tobacco are some of my favorites to find in wine.
The exotic and slightly elusive flavors of lychee and tobacco are some of my favorites to find in wine.

What rewards are on offer?

AROMA CARD: I've set up a wide range of funding levels starting with a "feel good" level of $10, which gets you my deepest gratitude, good karma, and a laminated copy of my Aroma Card, a handy tool that you can keep in your wallet to help you identify the flavors and aromas you are tasting in wine.

The Aroma Card is double sided, laminated, and folds down to the size of a business card so it can slip easily into a wallet or purse.
The Aroma Card is double sided, laminated, and folds down to the size of a business card so it can slip easily into a wallet or purse.

THE BOOK ITSELF: You can pre-order the book for $70, an eBook copy is available for $30, or you can get both for $90.

Because this book makes a great gift, I have also set up the ability to order multiple copies.

SPECIAL THANKS: Everyone who pledges $150 or more will be recognized in a special acknowledgement in the book, and anyone who buys three or more copies will get an invite to a launch party I'll be throwing in San Francisco.

YOUR PERSONAL SOMMELIER: If you're willing to invest at the $1500 level, in addition to offering you six signed copies of the book, I will be your personal sommelier for a six-person dinner party at your home in the San Francisco Bay Area (or you can pay transportation costs if you live farther afield).  

WINE TASTING TOUR: For those hedonists with deep pockets who are interested in an immersive experience, in exchange for your support at the $3500 level, I will become your guide for a day of wine tasting unlike anything you'd get from a typical tour group. With my inside connections, you and five friends will experience the best of Napa or Sonoma wine country. Departing from San Francisco, I'll be your chauffeur and guide for a full day extravaganza. 

Remember Kickstarter's policy: If this project is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the project reaches its funding deadline. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card is never charged.

Thank you for your support!

Doesn't it just make you thirsty? Drinking while reading has never been this fun.
Doesn't it just make you thirsty? Drinking while reading has never been this fun.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Very little risk exists for the completion of this project. The photography is 100% complete, and 90% of content has been written. A designer has been selected and contracted, and the design work on the book has begun.

The largest "risk" is merely the potential of delays getting the book published in a timely manner. In order to produce the book affordably but at an exacting standard for quality, it must be printed using a specialty offset printer outside the United States. When dealing with overseas printers, risks of delays always exist, especially when the paper is sourced in the United States. Printing will take 8 to 10 weeks to complete once they have all the paper and final source files.

Beyond delays, however, little will stand in the way of getting this beautiful book to come to life for wine lovers everywhere. Thanks for participating!

FAQ

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    7 backers

    My eternal thanks, good karma, and a laminated, wallet-size version of my Aroma Card wine tasting tool.

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    19 backers

    One copy of the eBook version of "The Essence of Wine" suitable for iPads or Kindle Fire.

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    70 backers

    PRE-ORDER THE BOOK! One hardcover copy of "The Essence of Wine."

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    13 backers

    One hardcover copy of "The Essence of Wine" plus one copy of the eBook.

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    29 backers

    One hardcover copy of "The Essence of Wine" signed by the author and photographer, with your name listed in the acknowledgements; plus one copy of the eBook.

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  • Pledge $210 or more
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    28 backers

    THREE COPIES of "The Essence of Wine." Your name will be listed in the acknowledgements and you'll be invited to my launch party in San Francisco. Books can be signed at your option.

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    3 backers

    FIVE COPIES of "The Essence of Wine." Your name name will be listed in the acknowledgements and you'll be invited to my launch party. Books can be signed at your option.

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  • Pledge $650 or more
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    4 backers

    TEN COPIES of "The Essence of Wine." Your name will be listed in the acknowledgements and you'll be invited to my launch party. Books can be signed at your option.

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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    Go big. Six signed books with your name in the acknowledgements, and I will be your sommelier for a 6-person private dinner party at your home (in the SF Bay Area, or you fly me elsewhere).

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    For $3500 you get six signed copies of the book, your name listed in the acknowledgements, and a custom, day-long wine tour for six people in Sonoma or Napa, personally guided by me and tailored to your tastes (a $5000 value). Transportation from San Francisco is included. Meals are not.

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Funding period

- (30 days)