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Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  9,300 ratings  ·  994 reviews
The Kitchen Confidential of wine: Read this book, and you ll never be intimidated by wine or wine snobs again. Madeline Puckette, Wine Folly

For readers of Anthony Bourdain, Susan Orlean, and Mary Roach, a surprising, entertaining and hilarious journey through the world of wine

Like many of us, tech reporter Bianca Bosker saw wine as a way to unwind at the end of a long d
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Paperback, 329 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Penguin Books
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Start your review of Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Andrew
Apr 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book at the start, and then slowly started to despise it until I was about 60% done with it. At that point there were fantastic sections that dig into what truly defines “good wine” and how variable the definition can be.

I literally judged this book by the cover, which displays a blurb comparing this book to Kitchen Confidential. I didn’t need to read much of this book to see that comparing Bosker to Bourdain is a little ridiculous. Bourdain spent his life working his way through
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Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste is a memoir written by Bianca Bosker. It was recently published on 3/28/17 by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, paperback, 352 pages. The genres are non-fiction, food, memoir, wine, and science. This book is intended for readers ages 18 and up, grades 13 and up.

My Experience: I started reading Cork Dork on 3/31/17 and finished it on
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JanB
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-giveaway
A big thank you to my friend Mary - I won this book on a giveaway on her blog, bookfanmary.

My husband and I are hardly wine connoisseurs. We drink wine, enjoy wine, and attend wine tastings when we get the chance, but liking and enjoying wine is far different than knowing wine. Several years ago we watched the documentary, Somm, which documented the rigors of becoming a master sommelier (a "cork dork"). Which, by the way, is tough, very tough. So I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book and
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Laci Long || Book Pairings
Rating: 5
Pairings: 2015 Pedernales Texas Albarino & 2014 Silverado Vineyards Petit Verdot. I selected both of these wines because they are unlikely gems in the wine world, just like Bianca Bosker’s Cork Dork.

Long ago I was romanced by the wonderful world of wine and I even toyed with the idea of becoming a sommelier a few years ago. Okay fine it wasn’t that long ago….I’m only 27 but around 22 I became obsessed with learning about wine. Not to the extent of the cork dorks and sommeliers within t
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Julie Ehlers
Cork Dork was fabulous! Reporter Bianca Bosker takes the reader along on her quixotic quest to become a certified sommelier, a journey you will enjoy even if you aren't particularly interested in wine. Along the way you'll meet the sort of obsessive types who are always interesting/amusing regardless of what they're obsessing over, go to suspense-filled sommelier competitions and bacchanalian, wine-soaked feasts, tag along with restaurant employees (something I always find fascinating), and lear ...more
Book Riot Community
I’m a fan of both food writing and immersive journalism, and this book rang both of those bells for me. In Cork Dork, Bosker leaves her journalism job behind (well, mostly) in order to learn the ways of the sommelier. Along the way, she also meets up with smell scientists, participates in competitions, and delves into the many nuances of flavor. I had a feeling I’d enjoy this one, but I didn’t realize how much. Bosker’s personality shines here, plus the book is filled with facts and speculation ...more
Samantha March
As a casual wine drinker, I took on Cork Dork in hopes to learn a little about wine, be entertained and gain some knowledge. I think all of that happened, but it ended up being a tough read for me. I think this book is for very enthusiastic wine drinkers, sommeliers, or readers who really want extremely in depth knowledge about wine. For a more casual wine drinker or general reader, it’s hard to get in to. It can seem drawn out at times and it was hard to keep focus on. There were definitely par ...more
Randal White
Cork Dork manages to completely peel back the layers surrounding the wine world and it's mystique. I have to admit, I love wine. And have spent a copious amount of time trying to educate myself about it. Despite studying all the written material that I could find, and tasting many, many wines, I still could not detect the smells and tastes that sommeliers said were present. I suspect many of you find yourselves in a similar situation.
Bosker, with no real experience, endeavors to become a sommel
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Olive
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
See my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/C2I8BevGXII ...more
Rebecca
Tasting notes: gleeful, ebullient, learned, self-deprecating
Suggested pairings: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler; Top Chef, The Great British Bake Off

Bianca Bosker, previously a technology journalist, gave herself a year and a half to learn everything she could about wine in hopes of passing the Court of Master Sommeliers exam. Along the way she worked in a variety of New York City restaurants, joined blind tasting clubs, attended an olfactory conference, and blagged a TopSomm guest judge spo
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Gina *loves sunshine*
3.5 stars to a very good audiobook - the author was an incredibly enthusiastic writer and reader and I think that made the book exciting. So much of the info was way out of my league and probably even over my head. But I kinda pretended like I knew what she was talking about and just let the info roll and I learned a few things!! I found the whole thing to be super super interesting even though it was a crazy detailed road to a job.

This is an in depth look at the author's journey to becoming a s
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Deb
Probably 4.5 stars for me total.

I really enjoyed this entertaining, informative and enjoyable book about Bosker's somewhat crazy foray into the world of wine, tasting and sommeliers and her pursuit to become a "cork dork." It's important to note that you don't have to know a lot about wine or be a wine fanatic to enjoy this book (I'm not--I enjoy wine, appreciate it, and know what I like and don't like and that's about it it), but being a foodie or food lover helps. The information and science "
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Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction, 2017
In "Cork Dork," author Bianca dives into the world of sommeliers. Now, I like wine. I know what color I prefer (red). I also know what kinds I prefer (malbecs or pinot noirs are clutch in my book). I know that I enjoy wine but that is about it. This book opened my eyes to a brand new world. Much of this book looks at the world of sommeliers. A little bit of obsessiveness, a little bit of science. A lot of one of my favorite subjects!

In this book the author explores the intriguing world of sommel
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Lisa Montanaro
Fascinating nonfiction book about one woman’s journey to becoming a Cork Dork. Bianca Bosker is a journalist who decided to learn the secrets of sommeliers, and she takes her readers along with her on this crazy, obsessed, interesting and insightful experience. From NY to Napa Valley to Virginia Beach to South Korea and beyond, she studies what it takes to be one of the world’s experts on wine.

As a wine lover, I really enjoyed this book. It is funny, chock full of detail, revealing and yes, tea
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B
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, fluff, food
The science, history, and culture of wine is quite an interesting and under-researched topic. Sommeliers are an intriguing group of humans who dedicate their lives to unpacking the nuance of taste and experience for those who can afford to frequent a restaurant which would employ one. Bianca Bosker could have written a really excellent book about all of this, had she not insisted on inserting personal bullshit that makes her come off as a pretentious Basic Bitch who muscles her way into places s ...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Light, funny, and engaging mix of personal experience, history and science in the style of Mary Roach.

When tech reporter Bianca Bosker stumbled across a wine tasting competition, she was blown away by the ability of sommeliers to "after a single sip of wine, identify the grape it was made from, in what year, and where it was produced down to the exact location, within acres." She was also intrigued by their passion for wine, as well as the passion of the many creators and collectors of
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Jennifer
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a good book! Bianca is a great writer. I am far from being a "cork dork" so this could have been a way over my head and boring book, but I was really engaged and learned quite a bit about wine. I might even splurge on a more expensive bottle some time just to see what all the fuss is about!
Christine
Reading about wine was actually quite interesting. Bosker's prose is lively, and she doesn't talk down to the reader.
Christine
Cork Dork taught me a lot about training your senses and how that activates a higher level of thinking in your brain. I loved this book, and Bosker is hilarious. If you want to learn about the underground world of sommeliers and service, Cork Dork is for you.

What I related to the most is how much our memories and experiences also shape the wine. Sleeping over at the Planeta Vineyards in Sicily made us love their wines even more.

Bosker mentioned the podcast, I’ll Drink To That. If you are interes
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David
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-cooking
Sommeliers are like those little birds that pick food particles off the teeth of crocodiles, the Long-Suffering Wife recently said during a discussion of this book. Intellectually, we know that they have a useful function and are a cheerful adaptation in a complex ecosystem. Viscerally, they are somewhat stomach-turning to contemplate.

While the little birds perform an task analogous to your semi-annual (if you can afford it) trip to the dental hygienist, sommeliers often have the similarly usefu
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Helen Dunn
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ages ago I watched a reality show called Uncorked about people studying to pass certification tests from the Court of Master Sommeliers and I totally loved it. I was thrilled when’s friend gave me this book on the same subject.

I know next to nothing about wine but I loved reading this book about the wine industry. This sort of close inspection of an obsessive subculture is one of my favorite type of book to read so it’s no surprise how much I enjoyed it.
Tina
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Cork

Do you like wine?  I like wine.  Do like a well researched book with an engaging writing style, entertaining stories plus a hearty dose of clear and informative information?   I found this book to be all of those things....but again, I like wine so I was interested in this journey.

Bianca Bosker introduces herself:

"I am a journalist by training and a type-A neurotic by birth, so I started my research the only way I knew how: I read everything I could get my hands on, carpet-bombed sommeliers' in-
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Nicole
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a really fun, multidisciplinary, Legends-of-the-Hidden-Temple exploration of the world of wine*.

Not content to simply immerse herself in the NYC somm scene, Bosker brings in the perspectives scientists looking at olfactory systems, a perfumier, neuroscientists, and broad cast of eccentric characters to provide a really rich account of what's going on when a person, and particularly a somm, drinks a glass of wine. The accounts from inside the working wine world, from her time as a ce
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lisa
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to admire a woman who blusters and bullies her way into a hobby she knows nothing about, and seems to be into it just for the glory of it all, especially when that hobby is traditionally dominated by men. You also have to hate her by the end of book. I got a little tired of reading about her missing deadlines to enter wine competitions, and somehow skipping to the front of the line anyway . . . did she pay double the price of entrance? Is she just insanely annoying?

I really liked that t
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Zhou Fang
I listened to this on audiobook. I was intrigued by what this book seemed to offer, but was ultimately disappointed. I'm not quite sure that the story is sufficiently compelling to warrant a read. The wine world is surely full of zany characters and the reader learns a good deal about it through reading the book. However, the story itself seems a bit... contrived. It all seems fairly low-stakes for the author, pursues this particular journalistic interest with opportunistic gusto. It was hard to ...more
Kara
Fascinating! Was surprised by how consistently engaging and interesting I found this book - couldn't put it down!

In a whirlwind narrative, the author recounts her year-long journey to transform herself from a complete wine amateur to a certified, CMS sommelier working in a famous wine bar in New York. It's a great introduction to the world of wine, which I realize now, I knew very little about prior to this book. I found the author self-deprecating and occasionally hilarious when describing her
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Britt O'Duffy
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2019
Cork Dork was pitched to me as a text about the rigorous "athletic" training individuals undergo to establish sommelier expertise. I imagined a mostly palatable chronicle of a journalist's journey (not unlike Supersize Me) into the bowels of a subcultural community.

Instead, I feasted on this text. The language was lavish, luscious, langorious - she captured the poetry of tasting a good wine. It was also accessible, digestible for novice "civilian" audiences. The sort of people who are used to d
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Koit
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Koit by: Laura Vana
I found this both a curious and an inspirational tale; Ms Bosker writes extraordinarily well and her experiences in the wine world, I imagine, have lit a few ideas for the future for the people who read this work. The style, excellent throughout, brings us into close contact with the author, hearing her thoughts and reasonings throughout her year of adventures amidst the wine people, and it is quite possibly this which I enjoyed most in here.

I also want to visit these restaurants and bars that c
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Thebookiemonster
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. I recommend it if you are actively interested in wine and trying to learn more. I don't recommend it for casual wine drinkers who aren't curious. It definitely made me want to be a sommelier and the writing was fun and lively.

There were some lazily set up filler chapters (Gee I wonder if anyone studies smell? CHAPTER 6: MY VISIT TO THE INSTITUTE OF SMELL) but they didn't detract too much.

The only cons about this book are the filler chapters and the fact I envy her for get
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Rebecca
Really enjoyed listening to and then reading this book. Not as wine snobby as you might think- in fact at the end of her journey to be a certified sommelier Bianca writes “Feeling something for wine and unleashing your senses begins by just paying attention. And applying yourself with gusto.” I learned alot and enjoyed myself along the way- like Mary Roach for wine tasting🍷👍
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Play Book Tag: Cork Dork / Bianca Bosker - 2.5** 3 15 Mar 31, 2018 03:05PM  

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Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist and the author of Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste.

Bosker has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian,
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