Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

  • Title:  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
  • Genre:  Memoir; Food & Drink
  • Pages:  346
  • Published:  March 2017 – Penguin Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Like many of us, amateur drinker and professional tech reporter Bianca Bosker saw wine as a way to unwind at the end of a long day, or a nice thing to have with dinner—and that was about it. Until she stumbled on an alternate universe where taste reigned supreme, a world in which people could, after a single sip, identify the grape a bottle was made from, in what year, and where it was produced—within acres. Where she tasted “wine,” these master sommeliers detected not only complex flavor profiles, but entire histories and geographies. Astounded by their fanatical dedication and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, Bosker abandoned her screen-centric life and set out to discover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.” 

Thus begins a year and a half long adventure that takes the reader inside elite tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, a California mass market wine “factory,” and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as Bosker attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine? Counterintuitive, compulsively readable, and hilarious, Cork Dork illuminates how tasting better can help us live better—and will change the way you drink wine forever.  (publisher)

My take  I occasionally enjoy a glass or two of wine and have a couple of favorites. I prefer it over other alcoholic beverages. That’s the extent of my relationship with wine – I know when something tastes good to me and that’s it. Reading Cork Dork was a revelation. Sure I’d always heard of sommeliers who know everything one should know about wines but until I read this book I didn’t fully appreciate everything that informs a sommelier. It’s astounding and impressive and I wouldn’t want to be one for all the wine in France. I would liken it a bit to a religious calling.

Bianca Bosker’s extensive research is apparent. She places the reader among the wine makers and the drinkers, the buyers, the purists and the high rollers. Once or twice she got a little too far into the weeds for me but I learned – so that’s a plus. I think most wine-lovers would find this memoir fascinating. It certainly has given me things to think about the next time I buy a bottle of wine. I also have a new respect for sommeliers and the invaluable service they contribute to a diner’s experience. Recommended to fans of foodie/beverage memoirs and, of course, wine.


About the author:  Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist who has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New Republic. The former executive tech editor of The Huffington Post, she is the author of the critically acclaimed book Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press, 2013). She lives in New York City.

CORK DORK:
A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers,
Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Bianca Bosker ▪ Penguin Original ▪ $17.00

On-sale: March 28, 2017 ▪ ISBN: 9780143128090

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK


Spotlight/US Giveaway: Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

More Americans are drinking wine than ever before, yet the rituals, customs, and language around it are as rarefied and opaque as ever, leaving many of us wondering what all the fuss is about. What makes the bottle I bought for last week’s dinner party “bad”? Are sommeliers just pretentious, glorified salespeople, or can they actually taste things like pyrazine and honeysuckle in wine? And why do so many people devote their lives (or life savings) to experiencing minute differences in flavor that most of us can’t even perceive, let alone appreciate? These were some of the questions obsessing Bianca Bosker when she decided to give up her job as executive tech editor at the Huffington Post in favor of tasting wines at 8 a.m., lifting and sorting heavy bottles as a “cellar rat” in one of Manhattan’s top restaurants, and foregoing coffee, spicy foods, and sometimes even toothpaste in order to taste better.

The account of her year-and-a-half journey, CORK DORK: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste(Penguin Books Original; ISBN: 9780143128090; On-sale: March 28, 2017; $17.00) takes the reader inside an elite tasting group, a Burgundy bacchanal, a Michelin-starred restaurant, an fMRI machine, and more as Bosker strives to make sense, once and for all, of our complicated relationship with fermented grape juice.

Compulsively readable, fascinating, and a hilarious exploration of the wine world, CORK DORK includes:

  • Bosker’s training for and entry into the country’s oldest sommelier competition, with hilariously disastrous results (though she does eventually become certified)
  • Behind-the-scenes looks at two elite Manhattan restaurants, where she trailed sommeliers and watched the complicated dance of service and hospitality unfold
  • The science behind how we can improve our senses of taste and smell, and thereby live more richly

Full of amazing stories, incredible facts, and scientific research, CORK DORK is a charming, informative memoir that digs deep into how improving our senses can help create a more colorful life.

About the Author:
Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist who has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New Republic. The former executive tech editor of The Huffington Post, she is the author of the critically acclaimed book Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press, 2013). She lives in New York City.


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CORK DORK:
A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers,
Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Bianca Bosker ▪ Penguin Original ▪ $17.00

On-sale: March 28, 2017 ▪ ISBN: 9780143128090

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK


Advance Praise for CORK DORK:

 “A page-turning and fascinating memoir…. Bosker’s mix of science, food writing, and memoir will be enjoyed by many.”  Publishers Weekly

 

“Always perceptive, curious, and entertaining, [Bianca] describes her experiences with precision and a wry sense of humor, locating the exact words to evoke even the most insubstantial sensations. Readers will certainly come away from the book knowing more about wine and likely eager to explore it further, but even those less inclined to imbibe will be intrigued by Bosker’s insights into the nature of smell and taste and the ways training and attention can increase one’s pleasure in them.”  Kirkus, Starred Review

 

“I loved this book. It’s not just about wine. It’s about learning how to listen to your senses, to more deeply experience and appreciate the world around you, and everyone could use another glass of that.” —Mary Roach, author of Gulp