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The Essential Scratch Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  535 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Richard Betts is one of fewer than two hundred master sommeliers in the world, but hes no wine snob and he hates wine-speak. In the first book of its kind, he helps readers scratch and sniff their way to expertise by introducing the basic components of winethe fruits, the wood, the earthenabling anyone to discover the difference between a Syrah and a Sangiovese and get the ...more
Hardcover, 22 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Feb 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
I was stunned by the audacity of this book, and then I was stunned again when I realized that it was only me that felt this way, judging by the scores on Goodreads!

For one, the scratch and sniff element of the book, which was the thing that attracted me to it, was feeble. Mostly there was a smell of a sort of plasticy deodorant. The only one that came close to the real thing was the butter smell. So you definitely wont learn how to discern smells in wines from this, not even basic ones. Also on
Tricia Meyer
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I like wine but am definitely not a "wine snob," so this book was right up my alley! I wrote a full review for The Wine Club Group site (Review: Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert) but here is the gist of it.

First, I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars because I would have liked for it to have been longer and there were a couple of scents that didn't "smell" so much. But other than that, it was terrific.

This book is a quick read because it is done like a children's board book.
Josh Caporale
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is exactly what it says it is: a scratch and sniff book that uses the olfactory method to help one become more familiar with wine and with an even greater hope to pursue the direction that a connoisseur would. The items that are being presented for one to scratch and sniff are not the different types of wine, but instead elements that make up the wine that we are more familiar. Ingredients include fruits and citrus, bacon and butter, and even grass and leather, which produce a residue that ...more
Daniel Lawhon
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culinary
A scratch-and-sniff guide to wine sells itself. No review necessary.
Emily Braaten
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a marvelous little accompaniment to drinking. It's written in good humor by a Master Sommelier and encourages readers to consider fruit, wood and earthiness in wine to pinpoint why they like what they like. I honestly wish it made more scratch-and-sniff stickers though...
P. Henninger
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is fun.

It has none of the pretentiousness or snobbery one might imagine in a book about wine. The Author presents a ton of information in a very simple format and is never condescending. He clearly enjoys the subject. I suspect that he is the type who would enter a room, and find the one person who doesn't like wine and make it his personal mission to educate them on what they are missing.

I have a friend who didn't like wine, and said it was "for sissies" to drink. Between my urgings to
Feb 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
The scratch & sniff doesn't smell like anything, which pretty much made this book a big fat waste of money. I gave this book to my husband for Christmas and I couldn't have been more disappointed.
Saria  J. Beainy
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
When I first came across this book on Goodreads I was, to say the least, very frustrated. I was having problems identifying aromas in wine and had I started Googling DIY wine aroma kits - cause I couldn't and can't shell out $ 400 for a professional one. That was when I found this title: "Scratch and Sniff Guide" and I lit up. I added it to my cart on and decided to buy it once I get my pay-check. Two weeks later I received it as a gift from my boyfriend. And I lit up again.

Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll admit: when I saw the title, I thought it was going to be a joke. Turns out Betts is a master sommelier and his humorous approach will certainly make wine more fun for all. Betts gives the reader a tasting road map, explaining how tasting is actually really smelling. "We actually taste only sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and a savory thing that Japanese call umami. All the rest of the stuff are actually just aromas or smells."

He explains the difference between "red" and "black" fruit in red
Anh Le
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This little cuteness doesnt take too long to finish up. I bet the smell from the new book must be incredible. I bought this book from a secondhand book fair which kept books for ages. Eventually, it lost all the original aromas.

Lively and interesting book for beginner who are learning wine aromas
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Really cute, even if I don't drink. I couldn't help it. Since the book is from 2013, I think some of the smells have worn off (bacon and vanilla). The fruit and grass was still good though. The butter was, wow.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a fun little book with a very good overview of flavors to look for in wine. The included map is a great resource for finding wines that you might not know about. Sadly, I grabbed this out of a free little library, so the smells are long gone.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic-read
short little informative book. cute illustrations, some text a little hard to read, but a just fine interesting book.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The perfect gift for anyone who loves wine & whimsy.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dont let the simplicity fool you. This little book is surprisingly informative! ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
As promised, there aren't any fancy words in this picture book for grown-ups, so if you are looking to turn heads at a wine-tasting, this won't do it. However, it can still refine your tastes a little through "do you like this or that smell better?" Plus, it has a handy guide in the back to bring to the wine store.

Plainly, it is a fun grown-up scratch and sniff book. Fun!
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
While this book may be a bit oversimplified for wine connoisseurs and the like, it promises to be an easy to follow guide to the basics for the laymen. It steers clear of most technical terminology and is styled as a large board book like those made for small children. It features scratch and sniff panels throughout the book to demonstrate Some of the olfactory elements of wines such as the fruit, wood, and earth aromas as well as the more subtle such as bacon and butter. The scents were not ...more
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Ok - should this count as a book read? Why not? This was a Christmas gift from Brendan and it's funny as I bought it to give to Cassie and Dan! It's a large board book that teaches the reader about wine-What's a good wine? Why should we sniff? Why fruit wines? What are the benefits of oaks? Meaning of other smells and wine? There are scratch and sniff spots on almost every page that makes the learning fun! There is a map of the wines of the world in the back of the book that is quite fun to use, ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really fun, informative wine guide. The graphics and poster are useful, and the information is very clear. This was a lot of fun to read, and I think that it's better than a lot of other wine guides in the sense that the information is very straightforward and he really only tells you what's necessary.

I couldn't pick up some of the scents on the stickers (had to scratch hard); this would be a great gift.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
This was a fun way to learn about wine. I want to go wine tasting now! It would be pretty fun to do tastings with someone who was in it just to make it fun, as it seems like the author would do. I enjoyed the book and will enjoy smelling my wine that much more now. P.S. Thank you for not adding any of the icky smells!
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fun, quick read. Although not all of the scratch patches worked, that's the publisher's fault, not the author's. And by giving a photo and name, I could imagine the smell quite well. I might suggest re-publishing without the scratch part and reducing the cost. That would make it a lovely little gift to include in a housewarming basket to young 20-somethings.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-for-fun
Isnt this fun? Yes, its a real scratch and sniff book. And, no, you probably wont become a wine expert, but you will know lots more about this mysterious world. Its not as tricky as you think. And its delightfully good fun.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, nonfiction
Quick, fun, and educational. Who doesn't like a picture book for adults with scratch-and-sniff examples?!!! This book believes wine is a grocery item and not a luxury. Probably best for those who don't know much about wine or are uncertain which kinds to try or who like scratch-and-sniff books.
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely delightful. Short and sweet and actually pretty helpful for a layperson. I shall be doing much further research in conjunction with the handy "map to your desires" included with the book. Hooray!
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
That doesn't smell like bacon.

But, at least now I know why my cat Beebo is fascinated by a good Sauvignon Blanc.

(No, not bacon scent; it's grosser than that.)

Buy this title from Powell's Books.
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I got an A+ on Page 10: - " * If you're doing A+ work, you've got a glass of wine in your hand too..."
Excellent book!
Beck Frost
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Easy to understand and quick to come up to speed for different types of wines. The map wheel at the end....BEST THING EVER.
May 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not much, some fun, too limited.
Manuel Frias
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
I wonderfully illustrated book about wine!
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Easy. Fun. Informative. The scratch and sniff bits didn't smell much like I expected, but the info is great for basic overview of grapes and wines.
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RICHARD BETTS has been featured in the New York Times, Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Outside, GQ, and Details and speaks frequently on wine throughout the country. He is the founder of two wine companies, Betts & Scholl and Scarpetta, that have won top praise from leading wine publications. The founder and president of Sombra Mezcal, he launched several new red wines in 2012.

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