Louise Wilson’s cool idea to colour your approach to wine

When time (between wine) permits, The Hired Belly does like to dabble in the odd book review. But it’s been at least a couple of years since he pulled out his crayons for a colouring book.

What have crayons and Cabernet in common—Aside from indigo? You might well ask.

The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book, by Louise Wilson ($24.95) is one of the more ingenious ways we’ve come across to explore, quite literally, the world of wine.

Flip through sommelier (and former Victoria resident) Wilson’s colouring book and you’ll encounter just about all of the  world’s recognized producing countries with all their regions correctly identified (including Canada’s, well, almost: Nova Scotia didn’t make it, for some reason). But hallelujah anyway. That doesn’t happen too often in the world of wine, where, on occasion, even some of the more revered authorities have managed to land the Okanagan in Lake Ontario.

Bordeaux … How to tell your Left Bank from your Right

Better still, grab your crayons (or your kids’, if you can find them still) and spend some time coloring, and I can guarantee you’ll never forget where Martinborough or Maipo are; how to tell your Left Bank from your Right … and plenty more.

In fact, we’re Argentina-bound this week, and I’ve already coloured in Salta and Mendoza.

The idea’s simple: take crayons in hand; read Wilson’s well informed intro to each region (including dutifully and truly comprehensive entries, thoroughly researched to keep even the more geekish engaged); note the map that’s already coloured—and then see if you can remember it by colouring in the blank version.

Depending on how much wine you sip in the process, of course, your mileage may vary.

All joking aside, though, this is truly a potent tool. What’s impressive, also, is the way in which Wilson manages, beyond the maps, to convey so much information, so well distilled, in order to remain appealing to a broader audience.

While usually we’re inclined to pen our own reviews, we think Wilson sums up the intent and sentiment behind her book just perfectly in her own words:

“’If you follow your passion

you will never work a day in your life.’

“That sounds like great advice to me.

I love wine, and I have always loved to color.

The world of wine is a fascinating topic.

It encompasses geography, geology, gastronomy,

language, history, science and business.

All of this before even raising a glass!

For students of wine, its multiple aspects 

and multitudes of information can seem overwhelming.

The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book makes it easy and fun

to learn about the world’s wine regions.

Enjoy!”

So there you go …

In short, if you’re into wine you’ll want to check it out

And, if you’re reading this in Vancouver, you can get it here!

(This article first appeared in the North Shore News)