In the age of Google, its not often that a man returns to the slog of traditional research to compiles a definitive reference book that may well require updating within the decade, if not sooner.

But one such man, wine critic James Halliday, has done just that. What sets his latest project, 1001 Wines Under $20, apart is that it averts its gaze from the top shelf. Indeed, Halliday recognises that sometimes you just wanted to stroll down to the corner shop and pick up a bottle to take to a friend’s or share over dinner at home. You’d like something nice, but would prefer to hand over an orange note rather than a yellow one. So Halliday has compiled a few options for us, 1001 in fact.

1001 Wines Under $20 is a comprehensive guide to cheap wine in Australia. It is as clear and concise as the white pages and as deserving of a shelf spot near your favourite cookbook.

As the internet and Google culture blossoms, it’s easy to forget the rigour that goes into making a solid reference guide. Penned by a long-standing expert, this sturdy information vault surpasses the best of Wikipedia.

The layout and content of Halliday’s book is authoritative to say the least. It’s ordered by variety with a clear contents page that allows the reader to quickly thumb to chapters on Chardonnay or Shiraz. Each section is introduced with a brief overview and the wines are given a rating out of 100, with most ranging from 87 to 95. Price, cap-type and alcohol percentage are all delivered succinctly before a brief tasting note on the drop.

Whether you're a red, white, sparkling or sweet lover (or all of the above), Halliday has you covered, from the popular to the obscure.

Like a trusty well-read friend, 1001 Wines is good for a spot of advice or a longer reading if you have the time. It’s the perfect companion to a quality drop that won’t empty your wallet.

1001 Wines Under $20 is published by Hardie Grant and available from bookstores around Melbourne.