- 2018 INDIES Finalist
- Finalist, Popular Culture (Adult Nonfiction)
If learning more about the finer points of wine is on your (ice) bucket list, Laughren’s book is a seductive resource to kick-start your resolution.
Jim Laughren’s 50 Ways to Love Wine More: Adventures in Wine Appreciation is a fun and approachable guide to becoming more knowledgeable about buying, serving, and drinking wine. There’s no fug of elitism or pretension here; each of the fifty short chapters sets up a self-directed task that expounds on an aspect of wine history, grapes and regional wine types, aspects of viticulture and winemaking, and other related topics, making it easy to dip in and out. One could use the book as a solid wine appreciation course, plowing through it in linear fashion, or meander through it over time to pick up wine hints and tips as one’s social calendar and wine purse allows.
Laughren’s approach, inspired by an oft-invoked Bacchus, is to make any of the fifty ways to develop greater wine appreciation, or “vintellect,” an opportunity for pleasure and conviviality. Whether for organizing a simple tasting party with close friends, visiting or volunteering for the harvest at a local winery, or learning more about wine vocabulary and food pairings, there is plenty of inspiration to choose from. While the book dispenses plenty of useful wine knowledge throughout, it cautions against narrow assumptions that there is a “common, anointed path” one should follow to become more of a wine expert.
From the high drama of the opening chapter about how to saber a bottle of champagne (it actually seems less insane after reviewing Laughren’s detailed description and photos) to the contemplative final projects about sharing one’s wine knowledge and philosophies, there are suggestions that will appeal to every sort of personality and skill set. The projects get more involved as the book progresses; for audiences simply looking to break out of asking for white or red on a restaurant wine menu, the first half of the book should suffice. More advanced oenophiles will relish the book’s later assignments, which dive more deeply into wine appreciation with wine tourism, advanced tasting tricks and reading recommendations, and hosting wine-blending parties.
Laughren writes with authority, wit, and panache. The breeziness of the prose is enhanced by an exuberant book design that includes many color photographs, images of corks and red wine rings around the chapter titles, and wine-glass motifs to close each chapter.
If learning more about the finer points of wine is on your (ice) bucket list, Laughren’s book is a seductive resource to kick-start your resolution. Ultimately, whether one chooses one or all fifty of the author’s ways to love wine more, the overall message of this hedonistic, useful book can be distilled from his exhortation to “Drink a lot. Drink many wines. Enjoy them.”
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.