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Book on Writing About Wine?


ckbklady
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In a food writing class I attend, a remarkable point emerged last week. The professor of the class noted that he had seen many books on the subject of understanding wine, of identifying wine varieties and regions, on mastering selection, on improving wine judgment, etc., but could find no books on the subject of teaching how to write about wine. He is quite right. I looked at numerous books and searched online to no avail.

Does someone know of such a book, in print or out? Could an obliging, knowledgeable eGulleteer please get busy and write such a book? I need one by next Tuesday, haha.

I notice also that while there are numerous books about how to write cookbooks and while there are a handful of food writing how-to books, there are none that teach restaurant reviewing either. Could it be that as subjects, wine writing and restaurant writing are by their natures too personal and subjective to permit for the creation of how-to guides??

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There's nothing you can't write a how-to guide about. It may not be a good guide (most writer's guides are ridiculous) but you can always write one. The big question is: Can you sell them? Are there enough prospective wine writers and restaurant reviewers to justify publishing such books? Could you reliably sell, say, 20,000 copies a year? I'm just not sure.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"How to write..." books are one of my great bugbears.  If you want to write, then write.  If it comes out crappy write some more and keep writing.  it's like sex.  You don't get any good at it by reading about it ( God knows I have tried ) you have to keep doing it.

Classes are valuable in that you have the chance for other ears than your own to hear your work, but you can't teach writing.  You either can write or you can't.  If you can write, a great teacher ( I spent some time with some superb teachers and I can't write.  I can rant and I write a few articles, but I am not a writer ) can show you how to bring it out, but that is a one on one.  It cannot be recreated in a book.

I see hundreds of m/s every year and you can always tell which ones come from those who have bought these waste of trees.  They are always immaculate, double spaced nicely bound by kinko's and of far less interest than the ones that look like they have been scrawled in crayon.

Sorry, this has got nothing to do with food.  it just hit a nerve

S

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So I take it the answer is no??  Heck, I am not arguing for the existence of such things, I'm just asking if anyone knows of any such book or books. Surely if there are such things, my prof and others to whom the subject is of interest can judge for themselves the relative merits of said books.

I still would enjoy knowing if anyone has ever seen such a thing. Anyone?  

If the answer is no, there will be cause for celebration, yes?  :wink:

Cookbook Lady

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You can't imagine such a thing existing anywhere else? Gosh, people eat and write about food all over the world! No, the course is not in NY- it is in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, offered by the University of British Columbia. It is an evening course in the Adult Continuing Ed program.

You might also like to know that UCLA periodically offers an online food writing course.

No "writing about wine" courses spotted yet - thank heavens, eh??

Cookbook Lady  :biggrin:

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ckbklady, I just had that feeling that you might be from Canada, and now you have confirmed my hunch  :smile:  (I spent 5 of my formative years in Kamloops).  Do you ever go wine tasting in the BC Okanagon?  Any favorite wineries or BC wines?  I've been on one wine tasting vacation in the Penticton area, and look forward to a return trip.

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Hey, Blue Heron - was it the "eh" that gave it away? Yup, I'm a Canuck. I'm new to BC, though. We're Ontarians who just returned to Canada from a 3-year stint in Seattle (dot-com meltdown) and are in the process of returning to the Emerald City. I confess to being so "homesick" for Seattle that I have not indulged in BC wines or winery tours at all. All of my favorite BC wines are from Western WA!  :smile:  I grit my teeth and pay $24 CAD for wines I could get for $6 USD in the Safeway. Worth it though, for the "Proust Madeleine" moments (shriek! see the Overused Review Words string on the site).  Washington wines seem to be more plentiful here than the local stuff. It was no surprise to me that last week's Vancouver Courier ran a huge article on the merits of Washington reds. I clipped the article and shall carry it around with me like a talisman.

My food writing class was held last week at Liberty Wines on West 10th in Vancouver. Highly recommended - private (aka not gov't run) shop staffed by lively, young, knowledgeable guys, offering late hours and decent prices. That's the good news. The bad? When asked what good BC wines are available for $15 or less, one of the fellas shook his head sadly and said, "none".  Apparently our eensy-weensy wineries simply cannot produce the volume to offer wine for peanuts (wine and peanuts are icky together, but never mind..). That sealed the deal for me about BC wines. If they were significantly cheaper than WA wines I would be willing to experiment, but they cost the same or more. I am a staunch skinflint and Queen of the Middlebrow. Food, wine and cookbooks are only a thrill if they're a bargain.  I like wow for my bucks, and when we get back to Seattle I will be buying every bottle of Chateau St. Michelle Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc I can get my greedy hands on.

Cookbook Lady

.

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I believe my quest is over, thanks, Blue Heron. The consensus seems to be that there is no such book and thank the gods for it.

Now I'm off wondering about the rumored availability of Absinthe in British Columbia..... I will start a new thread.

I must add that "Blue Heron" has a superhero ring to it like "Green Hornet". Have I seen through your cover??

Slainte!

Cookbook Lady

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Slainte!

So is there some Irish in there to go with the Canadian?

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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Yup - I'm an Irish-born Canadian who is a former resident of the US. How's that for multinational identity? It sure makes for confusing introductions at dinner parties, but it has made me the adventurous and flexible drinker that I am.

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