Cork Dork: Will the Real Bianca Bosker Please Step Forward?

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

Bianca Bosker’s new book “Cork Dork”

Punch Out and Be a Sommelier
Many a wine enthusiast has the occasional Walter Mitty-esque dream of punching out of his/her daily occupation to become a sommelier. To be surrounded by wine, sharing the great stories with customers, hob-nobbing with winemakers. Ahh, the life!

Well, Bianca Bosker did just that in her new book: “Cork Dork: A Wine Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste“. Bianca quit her job and went in search of the elusive skills needed to become one of the tasting elite. Of course, without any experience, she had to start at the bottom, toting bottles up and down stairs in a restaurant with the attendant terrible hours, backbreaking work, and little pay. Wow, the glamour!

As the reader, you’ll be treated to vicariously living out her wild ride from the bottom to becoming a full-fledged Certified Sommelier, and what an experience! Along the way you’ll follow as she joins multiple blind tasting groups, interviews a perfumer, visits one of the tasting labs of the mega-wine-corporations, and puts herself through the Certified Sommelier exam. Engagingly written, humorous and briskly paced, nearly any enthusiastic wine drinker will enjoy Bianca’s book.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

Difficult to tell Bianca’s true point of view from her recent articles

The puzzle began last week with my wine-centered social media feed exploding over an op-ed piece in the Sunday New York Times, titled: “Ignore the Snobs, Drink the Cheap, Delicious Wine“, which was penned by Bianca. Hmmm! I read the article and couldn’t match it up with what I read in Bianca’s book. She contends that the wines which to her tasted of “root beer with a splash of Hershey’s syrup and vodka” were, in fact, a way of creating new wine drinkers. I suppose Kraft Mac & Cheese could lead a person to Michelin star dining, but it hardly seems the recommended path.

After doing a bit of searching, I realized Bianca had written another article I had read in the October 2016 Food and Wine magazine titled: “What’s Really in Your Wine“. In this article Bianca questions all the additives in many of the big name brand wines and seems to be a supporter of truth in labeling for wines.

So which one is it, Bianca? Cheap, manipulated big brand product or truth in labeling?  It’s difficult to know since she keeps changing her point of view.

I did contact her to question her on her seemingly at odds comments in the book vs. article vs. article. She responded very nicely and indicated she hoped to encourage more dialog on the subject.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are mine.

3 Responses to “Cork Dork: Will the Real Bianca Bosker Please Step Forward?”
  1. Very interesting. Where do you stand on her multiple stances?

    • Hi Michelle, thanks for asking.
      1st & generally, I think everyone has a right to their own tastebuds and nose. They are 100% welcome to drink what they like. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with big wine companies manufacturing wines to please an audience.
      Food & Wine (additives & labeling) – I would love to see truth in labeling for wines. I appreciate less manipulated wines, I’m not an absolute-ist. I would like to know what has gone into the liquid along the way.
      NYTimes Op-Ed – No need to slam one group (natural wines) just to grab a headline. And her praise for the manipulated stuff seems ill-aimed at the people who might pick up her book. In the food analogy, I think you’d draw more people into enthusiasm for less confected wines from the farmer’s market than the Kraft Mac&Cheese aisle.

      • I agree with you. My struggle in reading your excellent article is why would I want to read a book that holds one set of claims only to find the author supporting a conflicting set of claims elsewhere. As far as truth in wine labeling, wouldn’t that be great! Yes, drink what you like. Sure manufacturer to a wide audience to make money. Integrity is found in honesty regardless of ones position.

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