Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 33

scratch and sniff stickers
These make me happy.

My mother-in-law gave me a scratch-and-sniff book for Christmas.  Joy to the world!  As a child of the 80s, I have a nostalgic soft-spot for scratch-and-sniff. Remember those scratch-and-sniff stickers the teachers used to put on our papers when we did a “berry good” job on something?  I used to do my homework just for a shot at earning the root beer sticker.

But this isn’t just any scratch-and-sniff book . . . it’s a scratch-and-sniff book about wine!  Oh, and just to make me feel even more mawkish, it’s a board book.


I looked up the reviews on Amazon, and they are mostly (but not overwhelmingly) positive.
You have to take this book for what it is:  cute, fun and a little bit funny.  To those who called the book childish, simplistic and condescending — lighten up, Francis!  It’s not supposed to be an academic treatise on wine.  The market is flooded with those.  The author, Richard Betts, is a master sommelier (that means he knows more about wine than you do).  Roll with it.  Betts is just having some fun — pour yourself a glass of wine and join him!

That said, the scratch-and-sniff stickers are pretty weak and mostly a fail (apparently, they don’t make scratch-and-sniff stickers like they used to).  But it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, because I already know what a pear, a peach, and bacon smell like.  Noticeably absent:  a scratch & sniff cat pee sticker.  😉

Betts distills wine down to three big ideas:

  1. We all have a nose.  Use it.
  2. Tasting = smelling.  And only your nose gets to decide what a “good” wine is. (Hear, hear).
  3. The wine universe consists of:  fruit, wood, earth, and other.  (Cat pee is other, in case you’re wondering).

But the best words from the whole book are right on the cover:

Wine-is-a-grocery-not-aBetts goes on to say, “When my work is done, we’ll all have wine like civilized people do the world over — at lunch, at dinner, with food, family, and friends.  Doesn’t matter what it is — heck, pour it out of a pitcher, pull it our of a box, drink it out of a tumbler — just as long as it makes you smile.”

Amen to that.

Thanks to my mother-in-law for this book . . . and the smile that goes with it.


Spice up your next party with our FREE wine tasting guide! Learn what to look, smell, and taste for while appreciating your favorite bottle. We’ve also included a printable tasting notes template and a tasting wheel.

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