History of Wine Words by Charles Hodgson ... the most interesting and useful quick read since A Wine Miscellany by Graham Harding, Wine Words is a terrifically fascinating book on where our wine words come from.
For anybody that has read this blog for longer than a week knows, I am a non-fiction book wonk, and a big fan of understanding context to the world around me. For the erudite wine enthusiast who loves to banter about wine administrivia in a manner that is more spirited Cliff Claven and not aloof elitism, this is your book.With History of Wine Words, he has written a book that should settle scores of wine bar bets for years to come. Set-up dictionary style, and indexed for quick access, History of Wine Words, for example, explores that mysterious punt of a bottle and explains:
... The name appeared in English in 1862, only one year after the word kick was used to describe the same bottle feature. The best guess as to why this indentation might be called a punt is that an instrument used to make bottles was also called a punt or a pontil. It was an iron bar ... used to hold the molten glass blob as it was being formed into a bottle. As such, it left a scar on the finished bottle that was often ground off, leaving a slight indentation.
The book is chock full of these nuggets. Take Sangria for example. The book notes:
The name of the famous Spanish wine punch literally means "bleeding," which likely refers to the color imparted by red wine ... the word didn't appear in English with the Spanish spelling until 1961, but sangaree was first cited in 1736 as the name of a popular if lowbrow punch.
Having History of Wine Words in your wine library is money well spent and that $5 is easily earned back at the next wine bar when you make a trivia bet with a friend, the knowledge you've gained and tucked away, ready to earn you a glass of wine. --Jeff Lefevere, American Wine Blog Award winning GoodGrape.com
If it's a wine book, I'm going to find room on my shelves for it. I'm addicted to books ... I still love to see, read, smell, and feel books. I love carrying them with me where ever I go.
If it's well written, I want it to be well read ... so, my new addition to my wine library, which will be treasured as all of my other books ... History of Wine Words is not only a fabulous body of work for its quick sound bytes, but it's also an important body of work by Charles Hodgson, because it brings so many new concepts to its readers that we might have otherwise missed in our pursuit of wine knowledge. It's one that you'll find yourself wanting to curl up with in a hammock, just thumbing through the pages as you wile away the non-scripted hours of your busy life.
As far as I'm concerned, everyone who falls into the "wine book lover" category, wants to have History of Wine Words gracing your shelves, too... Most especially if you're a researcher and/or writer. This book will quickly open up new worlds for you. After 16 years of being in the wine business, studying it, writing about it, enjoy all that it has to offer, I'm very clear on what this wine world is all about. It's an ever opening lotus. One step leads to the next experience, and the next, and the next... always developing your skill, understanding, and performance.
I agree with the sub title of this book, "An Intoxicating Dictionary of Etymology and Word Histories from the Vineyard, Glass, and Bottle." It is intoxicating, and it covers all things "wine
Here's a tidbit from the book; something I would never have known had I not read it in this book. To know this, I would have had to had traveled to this region... Which I'd love to do, but it's not on my calendar any time soon: Orvieto These wines are named for the Italian town near which they are produced. The town's name comes from the contraction of the Latin name Urbs Vetus, meaning "old town"; there had been a settlement there since Etruscan times. T his book totally intrigues me, because I find language compelling. It's a perfect book for people who think in sound bytes, or for wanting to snag a new thought to use as a conversation opener at a party, instead of using the old classic, "So, what's your sign?"