Més que un club is the motto of the Barcelona soccer team. Barcelona is more than a just soccer club, according to its ardent fans, it is a commitment to values that extend well beyond sports. During the dark years of Spain’s Franco dictatorship, supporting Barcelona was a way to make a pro-democracy (and pro-Catalonia) statement.
Més que un wine book?
Jerry Lockspeiser’s new book Your Wine Questions Answered: the 25 things wine drinkers most want to know is more than a great wine book, it is also a way to make a statement and change the world one student and one school at a time.
All the money that Lockspeiser’s book generates will go to help build primary schools in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Jerry writes that
In 2010 I visited Sierra Leone with international development charity ActionAid. Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries and education is fundamental to improving lives. When I came back from the trip I suggested to two wine business friends that we create a wine brand and give all our profits to finance the building of primary schools. We set up the Millione Foundation, created the Millione brand, sourced a lovely lightly sparkling Rosé from Italy, and set about selling it.
So far we have financed the building of five schools, educating 1500 children. The more books and wine we sell, the more schools we will build.
This is obviously a very good cause and a great way for wine book buyers to support a worthwhile initiative. As I wrote in the final chapter of Money, Taste, and Wine: It’s Complicated, sometimes wine can be more than a nice drink. Sometimes it can help change the world one cork or glass at a time. I was talking about some inspiring initiatives we saw in South Africa and now Jerry Lockspeiser extends this model from corks and glasses to books. What a great idea.
What about the book?
So what about the book? Lockspeiser is pitching his book to wine newbies — people who like to drink wine but don’t know much about it and want to learn more without too much pain. The book works for this audience — each brief chapter answers a typical wine question in two to eight pages and ends with a “one gulp” summary.
The goal is to make new wine drinkers more confident in their choices so that they enjoy wine even more. Jerry never talks down to the reader because, after all, everyone is a newbie at some point. Wine should make us happy and this book’s cheerful, helpful tone underlines that fact.
But Your Wine Questions Answered is not just for newbies. Jerry Lockspeiser knows wine and the wine business like the back of his hand and he knows how to talk about wine, too. Reading this book is like sitting down with Jerry and having him tell you about the world he knows so well in an informative and interesting way. This is so much more than a bluffer’s guide!
Here are a few of the chapter titles to give you an idea of the the questions that are answered here. Sometimes, as in the chapter on Cabernet Sauvignon, the initial question is just a way to open a door to larger issues (naming wines by their grape varieties, for example, as opposed to their region of origin).
- WHAT IS CABERNET SAUVIGNON ?
- WHY DO THEY SAY SOME WINES HAVE ‘A HINT OF GOOSEBERRIES’ ?
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAMPAGNE AND CAVA ?
- WHY DOES FRENCH CHARDONNAY TASTE DIFFERENT TO AUSTRALIAN CHARDONNAY ?
- HOW IS ROSÉ MADE ?
- HOW LONG WILL WINE KEEP IN AN OPEN BOTTLE ?
- WHY DOES WINE COST SO MUCH ?
- ARE HEAVILY DISCOUNTED WINES WORTH THE FULL PRICE ?
- WHAT IS THE BEST WINE ?
- IS IT TRUE THAT ORGANIC WINE DOESN’T GIVE YOU A HEADACHE ?
- WHY DOESN’T THE WINE I BROUGHT BACK FROM HOLIDAY TASTE AS GOOD AT HOME ?
- DOES IT MATTER WHAT KIND OF GLASS I DRINK WINE OUT OF ?
- WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CHOOSE WINE IN A RESTAURANT ?
Every chapter gave me something new to think about or a new way to think about something I thought I knew pretty well. Your Wine Questions Answered is a great wine book. But it’s really more than a great wine book because of the ambitious school project in Sierra Leone and progressive values it supports. Available at Amazon US, Amazon UK and Waterstones.