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08.06.2006

The Best Job in the Wine Industry

You know, I'm far from a total wine expert. Sure I know a lot more than your average person about wine, and I drink a lot more of it than most, but every once in a while it will become clear how little I do know. Take the wine production and packaging process, for instance. I was pretty sure I knew how the basic process unfolded. I've seen my share of bottling lines, and wines crated up by the pallet load. Pretty straightforward, right?

But then I was lucky enough to be having dinner the other night with wine writer Eric Asimov from the New York Times, and in the course of our conversation he happened to talk about his experiences watching wine bottling, and how much he enjoyed watching the work of the cork soakers. I nearly missed it, as he moved on to other aspects of the wine bottling process, but I eventually had to stop him and ask him to explain himself.

And that's how I learned about one of the best jobs in the wine industry. Like many industry jobs, it's not one I'd really want to do, but I can see how many people might find it very rewarding.

Eric said he first learned about the cork soakers on TV, which completely explains why I didn't know about it. Ruth and I don't watch TV and haven't for years.

Cork soakers. Go figure. It's things like this that fuel my passion for wine. There's always something new to learn.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud