Title: Cork Dork
Author: Bianca Bosker
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Memoirs, Science, Wine
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
5th sentence, 74th page: Or Napa Valley in California.
Professional journliast and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine, until she discovered the world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit if flavour. Fascinated by their fervour and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a ‘cork dork’.
With boundless curiosity, humour and a healthy dose of scepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, mass-market wine factories and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine? Funny, counterintuitive and compulsively readable, Cork Dork does for drinking what Kitchen Confidential did for dining out, ensuring you’ll never reach blindly for the second cheapest bottle on the menu again.
I got this book because someone who came into my work place suggested it. I work in a cellar door, and I’m constantly trying to find out more about wine. It sounded interesting, it sounded like something that could expand my knowledge, and I figured, ‘why the hell not?’ And honestly, it was so much more than I expected! This book was fascinating, engaging and enthralling – something that I couldn’t put down and taught me so much more about the world of wine.
Although the premise for this journey is a journalist attempting to become a master sommelier, there is so much more about the world of wine than I expected. I was expecting someone who entered the world of the hoighty toighty wine tasters and sellers, those who work in first class restaurants, and just saw wine as a way in which to show their class. Instead, this was an honest look into the industry of wine, how we experience it and the emotional connection that such a weirdly complex beverage can incite. Bosker doesn’t just talk about the social and economic aspects of fine wine and fine dining, but the science, the beliefs and the very act of creating this beverage.
Cork Dork is brilliantly written and a great insight into the industry. The fact that there is a whole chapter that discusses the company I work for (Treasury Wine Estates), and it helped me to conceptualise where the work I do fits into the wine industry as well. But, even if you are not a lover of wine, this is a great way to find out more about what makes people so obsessed with this drink. After all, it’s just alcoholic grape juice…
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