The teacher and essayist flings wide the door on life in general and the joys of the grape particularly, with much baroque whimsey and rhapsodic jollifications. Rambling dialogues with fortunate guests in which the author imbibes the character of the guest along with the delicacies of table and bottle, these contain anecdotes, a glissade of poesy and some solid information. Tales bubble forth -- the priest who so brilliantly defended his extravagant tippling that it won him a bishopric; wine and life with the author's grandparents in Italy; a professor's matchmaking. There is philosophy dipped in excellent wine -- an appreciation of the balanced life, of love and marriage. There is also a discussion of the techniques of wine making as the delightful Cabernet Sauvignon is escorted from vine to barrel and the ""chemical action"" explained. Of special interest to the budding wine collector is a critical review of current world table wines, and a salute to certain virtuous domestic vintages. Great fun for the collector or gourmet novitiate.