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2.8 out of 5 stars
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2.8 out of 5 stars
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on 25 October 2005
I am a food and wine lecturer at a catering college so I was quite looking forward to the Matt Skinner book, and how it might be a good introduction to the complicated world of wine, but in reality Thirsty Work is a bit thin on substance. I have to agree with a couple of the other reviews here in that this book seems to be designed to launch Matt at as TV 'wine star' rather than an author serious about his subject. Mind you, if this book is on offer it might make a good stocking filler for a young person with a passing interest in wine.
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on 7 October 2005
I attended a wine tasting that coincided with this book by Matt in a London bookshop. He even wore a similar shirt to the one on the cover of the book but he assured me that it was not the same one. He told us his life story about how he got into wine etc. I'm pretty sure he is trying to be as passionate about wine as Jamie Oliver is about food, they even work together. Somehow I wasn't that convinced...
If you like the Jamie style cookbooks then this is exactly like that. This book is good for the complete novice who has no idea about wine, it even has the pronouciations phonetically. But beyond that this book really doesn't offer much more.
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on 21 September 2005
It will come as no shock that this book seems to be more about creating a 'celeb' than about being a good introduction to wine. Whilst Matt Skinner might be passionate about wine and an amiable bloke, I have to say that this book falls short in what it has set out to do ... make wine simple. The overlong endorsement by Jamie Oliver and 'cool' pictures may hope to bring wine to a new audience, but I doubt that Thirsty Work will hold peoples attention for long ... it may be fun but it is very lightweight indeed. I was hoping for more, but feel pretty let down. However, this book will probably suit a teenage audience rather than those keen to learn about wine.
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on 23 January 2006
Was looking forward to this book, but it was a real disappointment. Very lightweight - I'm no wine expert, but if this is the extent of Matt Skinner's knowledge, then becoming a wine waiter is a lot easier than it used to be. Only buy it if you are a real beginner with wine
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on 25 February 2006
Thirsty Work seems to be a genuine attempt to make wine more easily understood, and in that aim the book is not too bad. What seems odd is the "Jamie Oliver Lifestyle" way in which this book has been written.
There is too much time spent on phrases like "grapes rock" (oh dear), and arty photos of Matt wearing basball caps. I think that this book could have been more readable if it concentrated on what makes wine special, rather than cultivating Matt Skinner as a future 'star'.
I think that this book might appeal to teenagers, but is probably a bit too clumsy to excite an older audience.
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on 14 July 2006
Thirsty Work is quite a good book for people who know zero about wine or maybe want to learn more, however, I would say that too much time is spent on funky lingo and artistic photos of Matt Skinner posing. As an adult (28) I thought that the book was probably aimed at a younger readership of teenagers, which makes me wonder if teenagers would really bother to read this book? There are not many books aimed at wine novices so I suppose this book is good from that point of view, but I couldn't help thinking that it could have been so much better. If you like Jamie Oliver cook books then this is the perfect book to put next to them on your coffee table, if you want a bit more substance or something less iritating to read then buy something else.
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on 1 February 2006
This book is OK but could have been much better. Its relaxed style make it undaunting, which is a good way to approach wine, but there are too many photos and not enough humour. This book needed to be funny. The book tries a bit too hard to fit into the Jamie oliver bracket of 'hip', however this IS a coffee table book in my opinion and not an attempt to explain wine properly. I am sure Matt Skinner will develop his talents, but this book falls short of being worth reading or re-reading.
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on 10 April 2006
Thirsty Work is almost a decent book but there are too many niggles that stopped me enjoying it, or suggesting that others read it. Much of the book is wasted with romantic, arty colour photos and with really annoying words like "brilliant" and "juice", whereas more room could have been taken up with in-depth wine info. Reading the book gives you the feeling that Thirsty Work is just a vehicle to create a persona around Matt Skinner rather than write a genuine book. I reckon this book would suit the under 20's thinking about going to catering college and needing a very simple intro to wine.
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on 16 February 2010
After the huge success of Jamie Oliver in taking advanced cooking down to earth and explaining the joy of food in a language the rest of us understand (something great chefs have failed at for years), it was inevitable that we'd see one on wine as well. Matt Skinner has worked as a sommelier for Jamie Oliver for many years, and his writing style is very akin to his friend's, and combined with his easy-going Australian approach, this is a very non-intimidating book on wine, and a great place to start for modern wine novices. The book takes you through the different aspects of wine production, consumption, and purchase, and does it well.

The book's short comings is in Skinner's "new world" approach to wine. A large portion of the book is dedicated to the most popular grapes used in wine (and this part is remarkably exhaustive, not just the usual suspects), based on the philosophy that if you know the grapes you know what a wine will taste like, regardless of where it's from or who made it. If only it was so simple. As anyone who has sampled the same grape from different countries, different wine regions or even from neighboring vineyards, know that the same grape can produce very different wines based on soil, climate, weather and the skills of the wine maker.

These short comings aside, this is still a great wine book, and the sheer joy of wine the book exhumes makes it worth its price tag. Also, it is a good, more modern, companion to one Hugh Johnson's excellent, but a bit old fashioned, wine books.
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on 21 February 2006
I knew nothing about wine a few months ago, and used to spend ages in the off license, pre-dinner party, trying to choose between hundreds of wines I didn't know, and praying I wasn't going to make a terrible faux pas with what I eventually chose.
After reading Matt Skinner's book, things are much better, I no longer feel daunted or embarrassed when buying wine and I can even talk a little about the subject with friends.
Thirsty work is not aimed at smartypants Food and Drink lecturers or gourmets or even keen foodies, it's aimed at ordinary people who want to learn the very basics of wine without feeling patronised or excluded.
It works for me!
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