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Book Review – “Corkscrew” – A Rollicking Laugh Riot through the International World of Wine

corkscrew-front-cover-snipThe list of fictional stories which deal with the wine industry in detail is a short one.  The most well known to the masses is undoubtedly “Sideways”, the story of a wine aficionado with serious life issues and a rather significant hatred of the Merlot grape.  We liked the movie “Sideways” as it was quite humorous, well acted, and mixed in enough about wine to keep wine enthusiasts engaged and wine neophytes intrigued.  We also believe the universal dismissal of Merlot which followed to be misguided and unfortunate, as several bottles of Petrolo Galatrona in our cellar would prove conclusively.  That however, is not the topic of this particular review.  We are here to talk about a new fictional work based very much on the wine industry, and another comedy to boot.  Peter Stafford-Bow brings us “Corkscrew”, a rollicking ride through the international wine scene which, according to Peter, is highly improbable, but occasionally true.  While Peter did elucidate on what was mostly true and what was not, we’ll let you guess for yourself.  I can say that if any of it is true, any at all, then Peter himself has truly had a wild ride.

Corkscrew chronicles the experiences of one Felix Hart, from his early days as a somewhat derelict schoolboy to his exposure to the world of wine and the eventual globe trotting, incredibly unpredictable, fornication filled roller coaster he follows on his way to the top.  Felix is charismatic, resourceful, obviously attractive to the opposite sex and perhaps a pathological liar.  Whatever he is, his experience is a laugh riot, and this book is one of the funniest things I have ever read.

If you are someone who is seriously interested in wine, you will appreciate the many references to grapes, wines and regions around the world.  From the early reference to the sherry from seaside Sanlucar de Barrameda to the final wine Felix confronts during his Minstrel of Wine trials (a 20 year old Madeira Malmsey), anything and everything is thrown out there.  For those interested in learning more about wine, there are a hundred references which can provide a thread.   Any of them, when pulled, could lead you down a new road of discovery.  Then there are the travels, to Bulgaria, Piemonte, South Africa and every wine growing region you can think of.  Some are in a bit more detail than others, but this is a veritable atlas of the world wine industry.

I don’t want to give away too much, but lets just say this is worth reading.  It is an incredible ride.  I highly recommend it.

A little about the author:  Peter Stafford-Bow’s background is in retail, principally buying for big multiple retailers, although he spent some of his early years working in liquor stores and bars. He has travelled extensively in most wine-producing countries and lived in East Asia as well as southern Africa.

Corkscrew is his debut novel, although he’s written plenty of marketing copy in his time – not to mention tasting notes. Now Peter divides his time between London and Blois, France, though he’s spending more time in the former these days given that London is the economic capital of Europe, whether that be wine or publishing. (Although Peter wonders if that could change post-Brexit).

All I can say to Peter after reading this is . . . . . Bravo!  We suggest you get a copy, and you can do that on Amazon.  Here’s the link:

A votre santé!

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