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Purdue prof’s books serve as guides to making, enjoying wines

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Christian Butzke knows wine, and he’s sharing his knowledge – from the vineyard to the glass.

Wine Appreciation by Christian ButzkeButzke is an associate professor of enology in Purdue University’s Department of Food Science and a member of the Indiana Wine Grape Council and the Purdue Wine Grape Team. He authored one book that covers the basic science and art of wine production and edited another aimed at solving common problems for commercial winemakers.

Butzke and Nathaniel Bowler, a former student of Butzke’s, compiled “Wine Appreciation” from lectures in Butzke’s 300-student class of the same name and use it as the class textbook. But don’t expect your standard textbook.

“This is not a book you sell back to the bookstore at the end of the semester,” Butzke said.

“Wine Appreciation,” from Kendall Hunt Publishing, begins with the basics, from proper tasting procedures to health benefits and business etiquette. Then it takes readers on a tour of 17 wine regions around the world, starting on the West Coast of the United States and wandering through Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Butzke said the book falls somewhere between a beginner’s guide to fine wine and the more detailed, science-based works often used as textbooks.

“Americans are now the world’s biggest wine consumers, but wine remains one of those mysterious things that is often intimidating to people. This book is something that can give those just getting interested in wine a lot of intriguing information,” Butzke said. “The level of science is fun and approachable for most people.”

“Winemaking Problems Solved,” edited by Butzke, a former award-winning commercial winemaker himself, is part of a food science, technology and nutrition series by Woodhead Publishing that includes problem-solving books for industries such as baking and brewing.

Butzke used Extension specialists and winemakers from around the world to lend their expertise on a variety of practical winemaking problems. He called the group a “dream team” of enologists.

“It’s a practical reference book – a networking book almost – that allows you to get answers from experts,” Butzke said. “This collection holds a valuable amount of information about the day-to-day problems because the authors field questions from industry and lend their hands-on expertise all the time.”

Wine Appreciation” is available at Follett’s Purdue bookstores and University Bookstore and at for $108.95. “Winemaking Problems Solved” lists for $162.21 on Amazon.

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