Use Wine to Make Sense of the World by Elliot Essman

Use Wine to Make Sense of the World
by Elliot Essman

Use Wine to Make Sense of the World, the new book by award-winning wine and food writer Elliot Essman, is a civilized romp through the limitless world of wine, written with a true sense of whimsy and fun. The book takes an ambitious interdisciplinary look at how we can use wine to dig deep into the experience of life, love, the senses, our bodies, our thought processes, and more. Key themed sections include:

  • Use Wine to Make Sense of Desire and Lust
  • Use Wine to Make Sense of the Five Senses
  • Use Wine to Make Sense of Other People
  • Use Wine to Make Sense of the Natural World
  • Use Wine to Make Sense of Your Body
  • Use Wine to Make Sense of Language
  • Use Wine to Make Sense of Your Brain

…all interspersed with Elliot's sage observations on taste, wine behavior, the French, the British, wine education, literature, spirits and cocktails, philosophy, history, internet dating, and anything else his inventive mind latches onto.

Copyright © Elliot Essman 2010. (Wine not included.)

-Paperback: 166 pages
-Publisher: Outskirts Press
-ISBN-10: 143274903X
-ISBN-13: 978-1432749033
-Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
-Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces

Author Elliot Essman responds to frequently asked questions about Use Wine to Make Sense of the World.

Q. Is the book about the world's wine regions?
A. No, the book is not about wine geography. Use Wine to Make Sense of the World is designed to be an investigation into ways in which wine can enhance our understanding of our lives.

Q. What are the book's subject areas?
A. Using wine to make sense of other people, the senses, desire and lust, the natural world, the body, language, and the brain.

A. Is Use Wine to Make Sense of the World serious or tongue in cheek?
Q. That's up to the reader. I use plenty of humor, but I really do think wine makes life more worthwhile, and I hope the seven main sections of the book show it. I cover some serious subjects, but in the final analysis I hope the book is considered light reading; there are too many grim things in this world.

Q. What are your credentials in the world of wine?
A. I have an advanced certification in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust through the International Wine Center in New York. I am a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award nominee in the beer, wine and spirits category. I am a career writer and essayist and make a full time profession of writing about and reviewing wines.

Q. May I begin reading the book at any point?
A. Yes. The book is divided into a number of short essay sections, each of which can be read and enjoyed separately, in any order.

Q. How much do I need to know about wine in order to benefit from the book?
A. The book presupposes that the reader has at least a basic knowledge of wine, the level that would be covered in any standard entry-level wine appreciation book or course.

Q. What about people who are alcoholics or have drinking problems?
A. I allude to these issues, but, as with most books about alcoholic beverages, this book is designed for people who tend to drink moderately and who are not alcoholics or problem drinkers. Even when I talk about getting “drunk” or inebriated, I am implicitly referring to an experience to be enjoyed occasionally rather than habitually.

Q. You write about desire and lust. Do you believe people who drink wine together ought to have romantic and sexual connections with each other?
A. Yes, if appropriate, but I stress that humans can share the sensual experience of wine without necessarily having physical or sexual contact with each other.

Q. Do you recommend individual wines?
A. No I do not. The world of wine availability changes too rapidly to allow this. I strive to write in more general terms, hoping to give my reader greater discrimination when they go out and purchase or order wine. I do, however, refer broadly to various types of wine and occasionally recommend they be sampled.

Q. You frequently counsel people to try many different wines. Can't a person have a good experience with wine if they drink the same wine every time?
A. Not in my opinion. An important part of the uplifting experience of wine is an enjoyment of wine's inexhaustible variety.

Q. You also counsel readers sometimes to spend more money on wine.
A. Yes, now and then, if they know they will get better wine (this isn't always so).

Q. What about the wine poems you include in the book? Why do you write them?
A. I enjoy writing poetry and think wine is a fine subject for poetic expression.

Q. Can you tell us more about the types of poems you have written?
A. The five Wine Haikus follow the 5/7/5 syllable convention of Japanese Haiku. The poem In the Wine Shop is in the form of an Italianate sonnet in the style of Spenser. The poem Wine As It Stands Alone is written in accented verse. The poem Wine and the Proper Use of Lips is in the form of an Alexandrine, strictly following the twelve syllable line based on two caesuras of six syllables that is the standard in French poetry; in my case the model is Charles Baudelaire. The poem Ode to Terroir follows the three stanza eleven line rhyming model of Keats' Ode to Autumn.

Q. You integrate various essays into the book that are not entitled Use Wine to Make Sense of anything. Why?
A. The book is designed to be an enjoyable browser, to stimulate the reader to look at wine in new ways. As such I have sprinkled in the best of my independent essays on wine to round out the book.

Q. You use some foreign terms in the book, from French, Italian and other languages. Aren't you afraid many readers will be put off by these?
A. I use these terms in several small articles that I feel will interest many readers who enjoy learning about languages. Those who do not are welcome to skip these sections. That said, most serious students of wine will benefit from learning a few foreign terms.

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Wine tasting rooms, wine shops and book reading groups can order the book directly from Outskirts Press at 50% discount for a minimum of 10 copies, easy shipping. Just search for "Use Wine" on their form.

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Use Wine to Make Sense of the World

Use Wine to Make Sense of the World
Table of Contents


Use Wine to Make Sense of Desire and Lust
Wine, Women and, Yes, Song
Five Wine Haikus

Use Wine to Make Sense of the Five Senses
How Sweet It Is
In The Wine Shop

Use Wine to Make Sense of Other People
Crossing the Color Line
Wine and Women, Two Complicated Subjects
The Ideal Wine Vacuum
Wine As It Stands Alone

Use Wine to Make Sense of the Natural World
Samuel Pepys, an Appreciation
Wine Cocktails
Wine and Women: The Runner Hits The Wall
Wine and the Proper Use of Lips

Use Wine to Make Sense of Your Body
Wine Education: My Own Process
My Three Cognacs
A Vinofesto
Twenty-Five Become One

Use Wine to Make Sense of Language
Wine Aroma Wheel
Grapes, Vines and Vineyards
Ode to Terroir

Use Wine to Make Sense of Your Brain
A Few Final Words

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