I love receiving books as presents, and I especially love receiving wine books as presents, so I was overjoyed that my husband had put Cork Dork into my stocking! I've been looking forward to reading it since it was published last March, but for some reason I hadn't ended up buying it for myself. As soon as all of the presents were open, and the paper had been hastily cleaned up, I dove right in.
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 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.
I was excited about the premise--a journalist abandoning her comfortable job in order to pursue wine fill time--and for the most part I was with Bianca all the way. It bugged me that she leveraged her connections to weasel her way into competitions and events that normally would have required skill in order to participate because it meant that she was taking a spot away from someone who might have earned it, but other than those few issues I really loved the book. It delved into the science behind olfactory sensing and how the brain reacts to sommelier training without being overwhelming, and experiencing her descent into the wine world, and it's ensuing obsession, was fascinating.
You don't have to enjoy wine in order to enjoy Bianca's journey, but you'll probably come out the other side with an appreciation for the art of wine making and the industry as a whole.
5 stars. I'd give more if I could, but that would defeat the purpose of a 5 star rating system, wouldn't it?