For readers of Anthony Bourdain, Susan Orlean, and Mary Roach, a surprising, entertaining and hilarious journey through the world of wine
Like many of us, 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 of wine, identify the grape it was made from, in what year, and where it was produced—down to the exact location, within acres. Where she tasted “wine,” these people detected not only complex flavor profiles, but entire histories and geographies. Astounded by their fanatical devotion 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 winery that manipulates the flavor of its bottles with ingredients like “Mega Purple,” 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? Funny, counterintuitive, and compulsively readable, Cork Dork illuminates not only the complex web of wine production and consumption, but how tasting better can change our brains—and help us live better.
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"An 18-month immersion in the study of wine, teaching us not just about what to look for in the glass, but how to experience the world in a new way...Always perceptive, curious, and entertaining, the author describes her experiences with precision and a wry sense of humor...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." –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“A page-turning and fascinating memoir…Bosker’s mix of science, food writing, and memoir will be enjoyed by many.” –Publishers Weekly