I used to work in the wine trade, and was literally brought up (pubs and restaurants) alongside bottles of the stuff. The most dispiriting aspect of working with wine was seeing enthusiasm for it quashed. Old guard wine merchants, and traditional wine press (no pun intended) are great at servicing their core customers, but the by-product is that they can be unhelpfully intimidating for those who don’t know. The language they use is difficult to swallow – the irony!
There are few areas of knowledge where not knowing cannot be readily overcome in this day and age. Wine unfortunately is one of the few exceptions. To confess that you ‘don’t know’ can risk a judgment of social inferiority. All too often when I tell friends to ‘bring what they like to drink’, they squeeze through the front door apologetically holding a bottle of Lambrini in the folds of their coat and saying ‘I was going to buy a Viognier, but I couldn’t make sense of what it said on the internet’. In my experience, it’s not that people generally are not curious, it’s more that in searching for information, they see more confusion than clarity. This book goes a long way to alleviating these issues, and is a welcome portal to enlightenment, or perhaps even revolution. The chapters are thoughtfully presented to maximise information offered without risking overload. There are also useful anecdotes and sprinklings of humour to aid digestion. I really love the ‘in one gulp’ sections at the end of each chapter. Extremely useful in that they can be hastily read before heading to the ex wine merchant’s house for drinks! Cheers!