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In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism

by George M. Taber

From the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Judgment of Paris and To Cork or Not To Cork comes a delightful, entertaining, and informative exploration of the thriving world of wine tourism. George M. Taber set out on the wine lover's ultimate dream: a journey to the twelve most beautiful and fascinating wine-producing regions around the globe. In Search of Bacchus chronicles that experience: the gorgeous landscapes, conversations with winemakers, unforgettable meals, must-do activities, and of course, the taste of the wines. Here he offers suggestions for travelers, commentary on trends in the wine world, charming anecdotes, and recommendations of vintages available in the United States, so that oenophiles at home can live vicariously through his travels. From the Napa Valley, where the art of wine tourism was perfected, to the deserts of Argentina, to a thousand-year-old monastery in Tuscany, to the famed châteaux of Bordeaux, Taber discusses the history, architecture, and culture of each destination in fascinating detail. He provides insight into the latest in the technology, politics, and business of wine, and uncovers a host of interesting characters who are major figures in their local wine worlds, including a Chilean arms merchant, a German-born Polish refugee living in South Africa, the dynamic woman who started the Wine Tourism Movement in Italy, and many more. Taber blends his own wine in Portugal, bungy jumps in New Zealand, and goes on a safari in South Africa, all in the attempt to quench his thirst for fine wine and adventure. An accessible blend of wine lore and travel memoir, In Search of Bacchus is another engaging, immersive read from George M. Taber, sure to satisfy wine lovers everywhere.

To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle

by George M. Taber

In Judgment of Paris, George M. Taber masterfully chronicled the historic 1976 wine tasting when unknown California wines defeated top French ones, marking a major turning point in wine history. Now he explores the most controversial topic in the world of wine: What product should be used to seal a bottle? Should it be cork, plastic, glass, a screwcap, or some other type of closure still to be invented? For nearly four centuries virtually every bottle of wine had a cork in it. But starting in the 1970s, a revolution began to topple the cork monopoly. In recent years, the rebellion has been gathering strength. Belatedly, the cork industry began fighting back, while trying to retain its predominant position. Each year 20 billion closures go onto wine bottles, and, increasingly, they are not corks. The cause of the onslaught against cork is an obscure chemical compound known as TCA. In amounts as low as several parts per trillion, the compound can make a $400 bottle of wine smell like wet newspaper and taste equally bad. Such wine is said to be "corked." While cork's enemies urge people to throw off the old and embrace new closures, millions of wine drinkers around the world are still in love with the romance of the cork and the ceremony of opening a bottle. With a thorough command of history, science, winemaking, and marketing, Taber examines all sides of the debate. Along the way, he collects a host of great characters and pivotal moments in the production, storage, and consumption of wine, and paints a truly satisfying portrait of a wholly intriguing controversy. As Australian winemaker Brian Croser describes it: "It's scary how passionate people can be on this topic. Prejudice and extreme positions have taken over, and science has often gone out the window."

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