Book Review: Educating Peter

By John ~ January 6th, 2010.

Educating Peter: How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert by Lettie TeagueAs a prolific reader, I’m regularly prowling the aisles at local bookstores, and especially the wine books section. The title of this book, Educating Peter: How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert, is what first caught my attention. Then, when I scanned the Introduction, I knew this was a book that I wanted to read.

“…to see if I could sufficiently equip someone for the wider world of wine—or, in Peter’s case, inspire him to drink something other than what he called ‘fatty Chardonnay’.” –Author Lettie Teague on the purpose of this book

As regular Wine Peeps readers know, we have a number of friends just like Peter, and one of our missions on this blog has been to broaden their wine horizons. Peter is Peter Travers, Rolling Stones magazine’s movie critic and the author’s friend and neighbor for nine years. The author, Lettie Teague, is the former Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine magazine, as well as the writer of a monthly column, “Wine Matters,” for which she won the 2003 James Beard Distinguished Writing Award.

Lettie Teague is a gifted writer, and this book was an easy read. I thought that Peter was a good foil for Lettie as she walked him through the world of wine. She even gives him a Final Exam at the end, which he passes with a grade of B.

I’ll have to admit that some of the celebrity name-dropping and super-expensive wine illustrations got old, but the education was excellent. I wouldn’t recommend this book as a guide to finding specific wines, but as a good introductory overview to the world of wine; it is both humorous and informative.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there is a short chapter on Oregon and Washington State wines in this book. While I don’t believe that all of her comments about Washington wines are entirely accurate, I was glad that Washington and several Washington wineries and winemakers did get a deservedly good mention in the book.

You can pick up a copy of Educating Peter at or at your book retailer of choice. Have you already read Educating Peter? If so, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it.


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