Ask the Wine Whisperer, by Jerry Greenfield. Global Book Publishers. 188 pages. Trade Paperback $14.95.
Like his first wine book, Secrets of the Wine Whisperer, Mr. Greenfield’s follow-up effort shares the goal of demystifying the world of wine. His information is solid; his manner is humorously irreverent. Though he playfully claims that his book arms you with enough wine knowledge to make a big impression, its main purpose is for you to have a good time as your engagement with wine and your wine knowledge grows. Don’t be intimidated by snobs, and certainly don’t become one.
Mr. Greenfield’s fast-moving chapters have a conversational style and reveal an addition to alliteration. His first three sections focus on The Grapes, the Ground, and the Guys & Girls. After telling us that “wine is nothing but grape juice that went bad,” the author explores the varieties of grapes, their distinctions, and the unpredictable trendiness of what’s in favor. He takes us through the well-known while leaving room for discovery of relatively obscure treasures. Mr. Greenfield also attends to the importance of labeling and pricing.
The chapter on regional distinctions (The Ground) connects us to the places that wine tourists needs to visit. It is closely connected to the next chapter, which details the range of wineries and introduces us to the people who own and operate them. Here he touches upon the importance of matching wines and glassware. As his pun insists, “it’s all in the glass.”
“The World of Wine” chapter is a robust miscellany of all kinds of information about wine. It includes a bit of wine history, choosing from a restaurant’s wine list, understanding the process by which oak barrels and “aging” affect the final product, what you can determine from the labels on the wine bottles, the steps and skills to master for a successful wine tasking, how wines are rated, what makes for good and bad wine years, the uptick in U. S. wine consumption, and many other topics. Jerry Greenfield treats them all with his characteristic good-natured humor.
It may come as a surprise that Mr. Greenfield saves a separate chapter for a discussion of women’s roles in the wine business. His main point is that while wine was for most of its history the domain of men, times have changed, and women have become leading winemakers. There is even a growing cadre of female sommeliers. Mr. Greenfield continues his exploration with comments about women’s wine clubs and the portrayal of women’s relationship with wine in movies and television.
To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 2, 2019 Fort Florida Weekly and the January 3 Naples, Bonita Springs, Charlotte County, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Ask the Wine Whisperer