Most wine geeks will be familiar with the Oxford Companion to Wine, the second edition of which was released back in 1999. Along with Hugh Johnson's Wine Atlas, this is one of the classic texts that should be on every wine lover's bookshelf. Well, the concise wine companion has some 2350 of the entries from the Oxford Companion included in its 559 pages, and from leafing through the entries it's hard to see what's missing -- there are no noticeable omissions (the preface mentions that only two subject areas -- distilled and fortified wine -- have been omitted or substantially cut). The cross-referenced entries are well enough written, in a semi-formal, economical and precise 'lexicographer-speak' language to make casual browsing worthwhile. Maybe I'm an unredeemable anorak, but I spent a happy couple of hours just reading from one entry to another. So, if you already possess the Oxford Companion, should you purchase this book? I'd say yes, for one key reason -- portability. You can fit this book in your briefcase or find space for it on your desktop, whereas its hardback predecessor is an unwieldy doorstop of a book. If you don't already have a copy of the Oxford Companion, then the decision to buy this is a bit of a no-brainer... Faults? Well, the cover design looks a bit 1970s: it is split vertically, with a weakly smiling, slightly embarrassed-looking editor on one side and the obligatory wine glass shot on the other. But we can forgive this, because this is such a useful, well-written book.