When I started to study wine seriously, I was most impressed by the powerful commitment that some people make to wine with no guarantee of success.
Winemakers who gave up lucrative careers in engineering or finance in order to buy a piece of land where they hoped they would be able to grow quality vines. Lawyers and accountants so bewitched that they devote five years of their lives and thousands of dollars to gain a Master of Wine certification with the outcome always in doubt. Sommeliers who live on a shoestring going from job to job until they eventually, after many years, find steady employment.
There is something about wine that drives people to make sacrifices and take risks.
The motivation is similar to what drives people to create art or music. But wine has its own distinctive appeal. Appreciating wine, at least on the surface, seems quite different from appreciating art or music.
I decided many years ago that I had to figure out what that strange attraction is. I had to develop an entire philosophy of wine to find the answer.
The result is Beauty and the Yeast: A Philosophy of Wine, Life, and Love.
The short answer is that wine has the vitality of a living organism. The long answer is—well, you’ll have to read the book.
Reading your book now, only a couple of chapters in so far. But ….. it has made me return to Roger Scruton’s “I Drink Therefore I Am” a book I have in 3 formats, print/kindle/audible, which has been like a good friend on my travels around France for the last 5 years or so. I’m flipping between the two, I know that sounds strange, but it seems like I’ve got you both in the same room answering my questions. Both go well with a pre lunch glass of St Aubin, En Remilly 2013, perfectly balanced, the terroir shining through, real complexity, still waiting for “the finish”!
Hi Dr. B,
I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. I admire Scruton’s writing and we agree on many things about wine. But I fundamentally disagree with him on philosophical issues. He thought that wine did not produce a genuine aesthetic experience at all. And It certainly wasn’t art for him. So most of my book is a critique of Scruton’s way of looking at aesthetics.
Yes, I can sense those differences and it’s interesting to read your book interspersed with rereading parts of his.