Review: Cork Dork

April 24, 2017 Uncategorized 10 ★★★★

Review: Cork DorkTitle: Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Author: Bianca Bosker
Source: from publisher for review

Summary: Light, funny, and engaging mix of personal experience, history and science in the style of Mary Roach.

When tech reporter Bianca Bosker stumbled across a wine tasting competition, she was blown away by the ability of sommeliers to “after a single sip of wine, identify the grape it was made from, in what year, and where it was produced down to the exact location, within acres.” She was also intrigued by their passion for wine, as well as the passion of the many creators and collectors of wine. To determine what made wine so special to these people, she gave up her job and decided to try to become a sommelier herself. Starting as a ‘cellar rat’, storing and retrieving bottles of wine, she slowly works her way into the wine world. She eventually attends exclusive tasting groups and visits expensive restaurants and dinners for dedicated wine collectors. She also learns about the science of wine tasting and wine creation. This is the story of her experiences and what she learned.

I was excited when I picked this up and saw that it was blurbed by Mary Roach. The blurb turned out to be a good fit, because the style did remind me of Mary Roach. Slightly less science focused and not quite as hilarious, but definitely funny, engaging, and conversational. This book also reminded me of Mary Roach because Bosker kept the story entertaining by mixing science and history with anecdotes describing her own experiences in the wine world. It felt a little lighter than Roach’s books to me, but I still thought it was a great read. I learned a lot and it made me want to learn even more. It wasn’t pretentious, included lots of practical advice, and made wine feel more accessible. If you like Mary Roach or have any interest in wine, I’d definitely suggest giving this a try.

10 Responses to “Review: Cork Dork”

  1. Jackie

    This book sounds awesome. I’m not actually a fan of wine (I prefer beer), but the fact that people can know where and when a wine was made absolutely fascinates me. If you’re a fan of documentaries and this subject interests you further, you should check out Somme. It was such an intriguing film (available on Netflix).

    • DoingDewey

      I will definitely be checking that out! I have a lot of fun reading foodie nonfiction and the ability some people have to tell so much about wine fascinates me too 🙂

  2. Jenny @ Reading the End

    So I feel like I’ve read that wine people really can’t identify anything about wine if you blindfold them. Is that true? Can’t be, right? Can’t be, if she’s meeting people who can tell the exact grape and the year and stuff just from the taste?

    • DoingDewey

      Yeah, the author’s experience suggests they can and she got to where she could too. However, it did seem like in the tests to become certified sommeliers, guesses at the identity of the same wine could vary widely, so I don’t know how consistent their skills are.

  3. Heather

    I love wine so this definitely speaks to me. I’ve seen a few others out there who have enjoyed it as well, so I will be looking out for it.

    • DoingDewey

      I definitely enjoy wine, but I think I like reading about it even more than my level of interest in wine would explain. I think it’s partly my interest in quirky careers and partly my interest in micro-histories. I love learning about why other people get interested in really specific things 🙂

  4. Catherine

    I just went and put this on hold at the library! I’m a wine lover and your description makes it sound liek the kind of non-fiction I could stick with- not too dry.

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