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