A sommelier and educator details her journey from wine enthusiast to expert in this debut memoir.
In the midst of her final year as an advertising student at the University of Florida, Joseph found herself compelled to throw caution to the wind, move across the country to Napa Valley, and try against all odds to devote her life to a newfound fascination with wine. Despite no prior training, the author secured an entry-level position at the prestigious Inglenook Vineyard and threw herself into learning everything she could about wine, its creation, and its ability to bring people together. With gracious optimism and unaffected frankness, Joseph recalls her attempts to prove herself to her co-workers, struggling with repeated embarrassments and humbling revelations of her own ignorance, and her determination to keep improving. Eventually, the nightly studies, constant wine tastings, and tenacious advances at work led the author to pursue her certification as a sommelier, a nerve-wracking test that nearly half of applicants fail annually. But even after achieving what a year before she thought was impossible, Joseph deftly describes the restless desire to grow that spurred her on her journey in the first place. In the ensuing years, the author would relocate to New York City, endure menial work in the restaurant industry, make a splash on the wine scene, and ultimately commit to sharing her passion and expertise with others. Interspersed throughout her informative and engaging memoir are sections demystifying the process of cultivating and producing wine as well as covering the practices that have long labeled wine experts as elitist. Without any air of pretension, Joseph invites readers to consider the social and cultural importance of wine as well as the nuances of savoring it that anyone with a little time and research can master. “The most poignant point I can make is it doesn’t matter where you begin when you study wine,” asserts the author. “The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to simply begin.”
An approachable, enjoyable, and enlightening introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about wine.