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Tuesday, 22 January 2019 15:23

50 Ways to Love Wine More

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50Ways Cover Final Picmnkey


50 Ways to Love Wine More

By Jim Laughren, CWE

2018 Crosstown Publishing, Chicago, IL

ISBN 978-0-9855336-3-2

Soft cover. 302-pages


Like many of my favorite wine books, my copy of 50 Ways to Love Wine More has some wine stains on its pages. They’re not the result of my own sloppiness, though. These simulated red wine stains are a design element. Less artfully done, these might have been hokey. In this case they seem a playful element helping relax the reader and letting him know that, although the volume contains a lot of information, digging right into it is o.k. In fact, it might just be fun.

We’ve all had lessons from teachers who—unless they were really, really unqualified—knew more than we knew. Often, these would-be mentors would present the products of their scholarship in a way that allowed us to learn the material if we really wanted to try hard. Maybe grinding it out enough to pull a passing grade would justify the effort. Or maybe not.

Author Jim Laughren carries the initials CWE after his name. They indicate he’s a Certified Wine Educator. He knows his subject. From the title of his book, one might infer that he loves his subject, too. Reading the book, it’s easy to confirm that assumption.

Wine is a subject worthy of serious study. Agronomy, chemistry, philosophy, geography, history—many academic disciplines involved in the growing of grapes and the making of wine could be invoked. Some folks take a linear approach to learning about wine. Perhaps it’s to their credit that they’re willing to reprise that same tedious path of study they remember from school days. For many though, that would suck all the fun out of things.

A reasonably literate person with no wine experience could learn a hell of a lot about wine from 50 Ways, while enjoying the journey. And a reviewer with 35 years of professional wine experience could  learn things he didn’t already know—and also have some fun while reading this book. Each of Laughren’s 50 ways merits a separate chapter. While the author may have planned their sequence, a reader could pick up the book anywhere along the line and enjoy one of these segments without having seen what was disclosed in all the previous chapters. Learning how to open a bottle of Champagne with a saber (Chapter One) or why you might want to start a wine tasting club or join an existing one (Chapter Two) make for interesting reading, but aren’t necessarily prerequisites for learning the basics of viticulture (Chapter Fourteen) or getting some background on the history of chocolate and why it tastes so great with  red wines (Chapter Forty-Three).

Profusely illustrated with photos and graphic elements, 50 Ways to Love Wine More will undoubtedly bring the reader to a deeper knowledge of wine, but that education seems like a byproduct of the activity, rather than a primary reason for doing so. Someone who has a potential like for wine, let alone a love, will enjoy the journey while traveling through all of those 50 chapters.

  --reviewed by Dan Clarke

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