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The Best Door Stop you can buy

It weighs in well over five lbs. measures nearly a foot in length and contains over 2500 pages. 

Bed time reading?  Only if you have the energy to wrestle the massive tome into bed.

While it’s odd to consider such a book in an age where reading the newspaper is quaint, magazines are building their proverbial bridge to cross the digital divide and e-book sales are skyrocketing at the expense of their paper-based brethren, I’m here to encourage you to not only buy a relic of the 20th century, but to buy a used 1980s version before it’s too late; they won’t be available forever.

The Bern’s Steakhouse wine list is the stuff of legend and a worthy addition the wine enthusiasts’ book collection.

Bern’s boasts the largest wine list of any restaurant in the world and not so coincidentally they have the largest private wine cellar in the U.S.  A winner of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award every year since the award’s inception in 1981, they have earned their wine bona fides. 


The wine list itself has grown in legend comparable to the cellar. 

The story goes that as Bern Laxer’s wine cellar and wine list at his eponymous restaurant gained notoriety, the lists intended for patron perusal would frequently go missing by diners who wanted a souvenir of their meal (albeit a very large and unwieldy souvenir).  Out the door these wine lists went covered by a dinner jacket or (in)discreetly tucked into a purse or satchel. 

To combat the nicking, Proprietor Bern Laxer started publishing the wine list in book form and selling them complete with plenty of personally written wine region overviews, photos from travels and hand drawn maps. 

Discontinued in its gargantuan form with the 1994 edition when the updating process became too cumbersome in an already cumbersome process, the handsome, large format leather-look books are entirely charming, comprehensive, personal in authorial style and, dare I say, a must have.


But, to repeat, you need to buy a used, vintage copy.

I only recently purchased my copy from  The 1984 edition came to me in nearly perfect shape for the absurdly reasonable price of $23 plus $4 in shipping and handling.  The foldout maps are clever, the prose is folksy and to the point and the unpretentious historical perspective on the regions of the wine world and the great vintages dating to the mid-to-late 1800s is nearly impossible to find in other books.

It’s a tough sell these days to advocate buying a wine reference book.  Who has the time to read a doorstop?  These books are better used for occasional review and even then it’s better to know where to find the information then to have the book, or so goes conventional wisdom.  Where do you even put it?  It’s something else to collect dust…

Perhaps that perspective is valid, but there’s a lot to be said for looking at wine books, particularly vintage wine books, as equivalent to snatching up classic greatest hits of musicians in LP form – the recording as the artists intended it, a snapshot of a time and place that is entirely authentic.

You may want to buy a dictionary stand for it (another quaint relic of a bygone time) in order to have it at-hand and handsomely displayed near your wine, and you’ll have to sleuth out used versions on, eBay or your local used bookstore, but I can confirm definitively that having a copy of Bern’s Steakhouse Wine List from the 80s or 90s won’t be the most important wine book you own, but it will become your most treasured.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (7) |


On 08/23, Thom Slaterbeck wrote:

Sure the internet has killed the book collection age for most. Younger generations will grow up reading very little in print, rather getting it all online in some form or fashion. We should expect Amazon to only sell book for the Kindle one day.

But reference books like this huge wine list to me and still worth the purchase. There is something about having a list of so many wines and having it on your bookshelf (or as a doorstop) rather than online. I still love having a small book collection, I may need to add this one as well.

On 02/18, tips on how to revise wrote:

Readers have switched to reading mostly e-books. But I still prefer keeping and buying books like this.

On 04/12, home employment wrote:

The foldout maps are clever, the prose is folksy and to the point and the unpretentious historical perspective on the regions of the wine world and the great vintages dating to the mid-to-late 1800s is nearly impossible to find in other books.

On 04/26, manual j calculation wrote:

I’m tempted to visit that Steakhouse soon… I’ll definitely will!

On 08/25, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

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On 12/18, B901 Android 4.0 wrote:

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On 08/04, sac prada wrote:

Signes de peindre comme LV terre à la maison auront besoin d’utiliser unagent d’entretien du cuir spécial nourrir protection.  Chow a rappelé que des amis nous avons donné les habituelles canapé en cuir Bailey épilation à la cire encaustique perles agent de nettoyage pour nettoyer ces sacs de créateurs, en fait, ce n’est pas la bonne approche. En raison de ces agents de nettoyage contenant de la cire ne laissant que la couche de cire de surface corticale, ne laisseront ingrédients hydratants profondément dans les pores du derme. Cette cireux agents de nettoyage de cuir peuvent provoquer un vieillissement prématuré, l’hiver, en raison de basses températures, nous verrons surface cirée du sac porte une couche de “gel”. Ainsi, tout comme notre peau,
sac prada en cuir, sont très pointilleux, ne pas abuser de produits de soins.


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