Wine educator Harriet Lembeck who runs the "Wine and Spirits Program" wine school on 29th Street in New York City who failed the prestigious "Master of Wine" examination and who has written the worst wine book ever written cites her credentials for her wine school on her Internet web page www.wineandspirits.com as "She is the author of the 6th and 7th editions of "The Grossman Guide to Wines, Beers, and Spirits", Chairman of the NY Wine Press, and is a frequent guest on radio and TV, as well as a frequent judge at wine competitions around the world in addition to being the Wine Director of the New School for 15 years."
In citing the "NY Wine Press" she attempts to give the impression that this is a prestigious, important organization while in actual fact it was nothing more than a group of several wine writers who organized to write wine reviews, Robert Parker style, who never got off the ground and disbanded. [continued below]....
..... It is not now in existence, yet she still lists it as an important credential. Recently, she told her publisher of her latest book, "Harriet Lembeck's Guide To Deciphering A Wine Label" to remove this citation from her "About the Author" page which she provided in her biography to be included in the book as it was inaccurate.
It is ironic that Harriet would list the "NY Wine Press" as a wine writing organization credential while omitting the world-famous, highly prestigious and influential "Wine Writer's Circle" which she was chairman of which under her leadership in the 1980's became moribund and defunct disbanding in the 1990's for lack of inspired leadership. This organization was founded in the early 1970's by Philip Seldon, the founding editor and publisher of Vintage Magazine, America's first wine magazine and then chaired by wine writers Eunice Fried and Doris Tobias. Under their leadership the leaders and shakers of the wine world clamored to present their wines including such luminaries as Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Baron Eric Rothschild of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Robert Mondavi, the proprietors of Chateau d'Yquem and Romanee Conte, and many others flying in from around the world at great expense.
The twenty-five members who met monthly for a luncheon in the private dining room of New York City's famous Four Seasons restaurant included Alexis Lichine, Frank Prial of the New York Times, Terry Robards, Alexis Bespaloff, Elin Mcoy. Robert Misch, Barbara Ensrud, Florence Fabricant, Mort Hochstein and Peter Meltzer among others.
Under her uninspiring leadership this once vibrant organization became moribund with members foregoing the bargain $25 luncheons and camaraderie of their fellow members and the vintners who came to present their wines at the luncheons. Harriet was not their cup of tea. These vintners were now showing their wines to a handful of wine writers without important outlets and non-writer friends and friends of friends who were invited to pad the audience. Knowing that it was a waste of time and money for a vintner to fly to New York City to the Wine Writers Circle in its present state of affairs, Harriet still invited them to come to present their wines to this motley group at great expense traveling from California and Europe for no useful purpose other than to sustain her position as Chairman of the nearly defunct organization.
Most egregious and probably the biggest scam in the history of wine writing organizations was her organization of the Wine Writer's Circle's Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration luncheon in the large private dining room of the Four Seasons when she luminaries of the New York City area wine industry and vintners from California to fly in to celebrate what they believed was an active and vibrant organization's milestone when the membership had already voted to disband.
At the luncheon, industry leaders went up to the rostrum to applaud Harriet for her leadership of the Circle and to wish her another twenty-five years not knowing that this was to be the very last meeting of the Wine Writers Circle that was disbanding the next day. For Harriet to have pulled off this scam for what appears to be for her self-aggrandizement is probably the most selfish and egregious act of any wine writer anywhere.
As to Harriet's book mentioned above, Harriet's new publisher purchased the manuscript for her book about Deciphering A Wine Label from the publisher of a series of popular "how to" guides after Harriet delivered her manuscript a year and a half late and was late in revising what was a totally misbegotten and unpublishable book when the publisher got fed up and sold her contract. After Harriet ignored her new publisher's request to revise the book, they devised a marketing plan to market the book as an e-book as "The worst wine book ever written by the foremost wine educator in America who failed the prestigious Master of Wine examination for 99 cents bundled with a bonus package valued at $83.45" to make it an Internet sensation that would go viral and sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
In answering her publisher's inquiry about her failing the Master of Wine examination, Harriet volunteered out-of-the-blue the fact that her rival, Marry Ewing Mulligan failed the examination four times while she failed the test only once, but never tried to take it again as her doctor told her not to. The question is has Harriet not taken the exam again because she knows that she can not pass it or because her doctor feels that the stress of taking the test will cause her heart problems. In any event, the point is that the foremost wine educator in America failed the test and has written the worst wine book ever written.
It is shameful for Harriet to have volunteered the "dirt" about her rival who was supposed to be a friend. This appears to be her nature.
Harriet Lembeck is 77 years old and looks her age.
Here is the senior editor's reader report about her book about Deciphering A Wine Label now being offered on the Internet as "Harriet Lembeck's Guide To Deciphering A Wine Label" at www.harrietlembeckswinelabelguide.com for 99 cents as an e-book. While it may very well be the worst wine book ever written and Harriet has been told that and shown why this is so, she says after reading the manuscript again, that it is a good book. It is being marketed as "the author, Harriet Lembeck says that this is a good book."
Senior Editor's Reader Report
The author obviously has a love for the wine industry, but he or she seems too close to the topic to be able to see the best way to get this information to readers who are not immersed in the winemaking, bottling, and marketing wines. This sample does not take a reader-friendly approach and suffers from undeveloped organization, repetition, bad punctuation, and non-adherence to the series format. Here are some of the formatting issues:
Doesnt seem to have parts designations
Presentation is sloppy with typos, unformatted paragraphs, and incorrect punctuation that makes the text difficult to understand at times
Lacks an introductory paragraph after many of the c and d heads
There are only two sidebar types, neither of which is a vocabulary sidebar; the sidebars are not used properly in that they are not callouts or information that enhances the main text; and the sidebars are not formatted correctly
The author interrupts text with notes to the reader, which is jarring and makes the writing seem like a rough draft. The information should be integrated into the text, or there should be an introduction to the book that explains these discretions.
Much of the information in the first three chapters are repeated, and sometimes repeated multiple times. For instance, the information that the percentage of the predominant grape listed on the front label of a US wine must be at least 75% is repeated three times in chapter 1. And chapter 2 describes the three main types of labels: The geographical and/or generic designation, the varietal designation, and the proprietary or brand name designation, but these were all discussed in the first chapter. This is indicative of problems in organization.
The text is confusing to follow. There isnt enough background information, and the reader is often left scratching his head. The author needs to establish a foundation of knowledge on which to build the rest of the manuscript. It may help if the author were to give an overview of the grape-growing and wine-making processes to enhance reader understanding. For instance, the author states, ". . . which means that the wine was processed at the stated address of the winery, but was not actually made by the winery." Readers need to know the difference between processing the wine and making the wine.
I have mentioned only a few of the problems I see in this sample. This manuscript needs an overhaul before it would be ready for submission. The problems in these sample chapters cannot be fixed through editing. I cannot recommend this submission as an addition to the series list.