How to Fake Your Way Through a Wine List



Picture this: you’re at (insert nice restaurant name here) with visiting relatives who still talk to you like you’re at school, or work associates it would really pay to impress and the sommelier walks toward your table carrying a tome the size of a physics text from third year Science. You are about to break into a sweat and slide under the table until you remember that wine is meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to be fun. And, what’s more, you have read How to Fake Your Way Through a Wine List.

A clever and funny book by wine writer Katherine Cole; a lady who suggests that the best way to read her book is with “as much drinking experience as pocket and liver will allow”.  We like her already.

Sent a copy of her book to review, we dutifully poured a glass and sat down; ready to learn how to seem like an expert and actually get closer to being one.

Most of us believe that wine is an exclusive club that we haven’t been invited to join.

The book starts with proven memorisation techniques, then invites you to Choose Your Own Wine Adventure. The questions posed are ones that can just as easily be considered if asked “What is your favourite restaurant?”.  For, just like food, wine is best when shared, so context is everything. Think about it…

What’s the most important question in wine? “Which one?” No! Try “When?” “With Whom?” “What season?” “What occasion?” “What are we eating?”

Now for the wines. The next chapter takes a look at seventy five of the world’s most prominent wine regions. This is the weightiest section of the book and gives a great overview of the styles of each region and tips and tricks to retain that information.  Including pronunciation because, “how useful is it to know everything about Viognier if you don’t know how to say it?”.

The best way to fake your way through a wine list, according to Katherine, is to adopt the right attitude.  Chapter Four teaches you how to turn the tables and take charge. With a clever series of debunked myths and list of impressive questions to ask to reverse the power structure, those relatives of work associates are going to marvel at your prowess.

The final chapters of the book encourage you to Embrace The Unknown and find the best deals where there are no big names, no point scores and no high price tags, and to Learn The Lingo because you do need to know the less carnal meaning of,

That 555 clone gets so big with too much skin contact. And look at the legs on it! It’s silky, but hot.

For a fun and informative way to feel less intimated in a wine store or when presented with a wine list whilst out dining, How to Fake Your Way Through A Wine List is an excellent read and would make an excellent gift.

It is available from and wherever good books are sold. At RRP $19.95 it’s great value.

*Main photograph credit: Simon Shiff





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