Posts Tagged Color Magazine

Why another book?


The clarification process can bring out the cl...

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Thinking about the Book’s Introduction, the first I needs to answer, I would imagine, is why write a book on this topic. Why, after all, white another book on wine? What could I possibly add to the flow of information on wine today, the hundreds of useful books published on the subject every year, the already numerous experts on the topic, the thousands of bloggers who produce hundreds of thousands of blog entries, maybe more?

Without having amassed all the bright answers one would usually come up with in a polished book, here are some initial thoughts:

  • A Sociology of Wine will not be a book on wine as such. It is more about the people.
  • The sociology of wine can tell us a lot about social change, identity, lifestyle, and the dynamics of markets.
  • A lot has happened since the world was divided into old world and new world–but as most cultures are old, and constantly reinvent themselves, or not, the distinction is meaningless.
  • My angle is quite specific: I want to portray the diversity of wine makers, wine growers and wine cultures.
  • I looked around and there does not seem to be a decent textbook out there–at least not a fun one.
  • I do have a Ph.D in sociology and despite a decade or so immersed in technology, I miss my roots.
  • I already wrote the management book Leadership From Below, so I know what it takes.
  • I have lots of stories, examples, inspiration beause of my role as wine columnist in Color Magazine, the premier US publication for multicultural professionals.
  • I have a unique perspective being Norwegian, a country that has absolutely nothing to defend in terms of wine culture. When Brits, French, Italians, Spaniards or Americans write about wine, they cannot but speak from their own vantage point. Of course, I will speak from mine, but it is not that of a wine culture. In fact, my family has been largely de facto teetotalers for various reasons.

Finally, I am so far, even though this may change, quite unconnected to the wine industry as such. This helps when you want to portray a full picture of what seems to be going on, or at least document what the players themselves say is going on. I do not work for a winery, a wine publication (I am the only wine writer at Color Magazine), or anything of that sort. In fact, I am barely a professional wine critic. I am simply somebody who likes wine and who discovered I had an opportunity to start writing about the people surrounding this pastime. I also happen to have some thoughts about how wine fits into a larger societal picture of changing consumption, lifestyle, technology and culture. There are few areas where the tensions between the global and the local, globalization and terroir, if you will, become so apparent.

These tensions produce possibly lasting changes in the fundamental social systems and institutions that make up society, such as the family, the economy, the state, and the increasingly important non state actors that seek to uproot the establishment, or indeed re-create it. In short, a fascinating set of issues with the realistic fringe benefit of a good glass of wine nearby when working them out.

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