Bianca Bosker and her book, Cork Dork, serve as this wonderful bridge between people inside and outside the wine community.
Everywhere I go, I run into people who rave about it. If I tell a stranger that I work in the wine industry, one of their first questions is, “Have you read Cork Dork?”
I’m so grateful to Bianca because her book came out around the same time that I was working on the Road to Wine Expert Summit and my next move in the wine world.
Bianca is insightful, bright and disarming. I had the most fun interviewing and talking to her. So if you’ve read the book, you’ll love this interview. And if you love this interview, you’ll love Cork Dork.
Listen to Bianca Bosker’s Interview
Update on Bianca Bosker
In my recent conversation with Bianca, I was reminded just how wonderful she is. To check out the latest with Bianca, be sure to check out Price Street podcast and her interview with Jancis Robinson is can’t miss.
Q: Well…it’s been a while. Your choice for long or short version, what have you been up to the past 2 years?
A: I have been staying very involved with wine. Doing stories and podcasts. I’m continuing to flex my sommelier muscles in various ways. Also, I’m working on a variety of stories for publication, and I’m working on a new book project!
Q: Is everything new staying wine related?
A: I consider myself a very passionate generalist, so when it comes to my writing, I have tackled everything from the concept of terroir to dinosaurs. But while I started off the whole journey that led to Cork Dork obsessed with the people who obsess over wine, I ended up becoming completely obsessed with wine myself. That continues to be the case every day.
Q: You’re obviously still drinking wine, is there anything you are seeking out?
A: I continue to love wines from Slovenia. My mom’s side of the family is from Slovenia, so I may be biased.
For awhile now, I’ve had this dream of going to Slovenia and embedding myself with winemakers there. All the Slovenian wines that I’ve had have been so soulful and so uniquely themselves. And I can’t help but wonder what isn’t finding its way to the US. I mean, it’s a tiny country. I’m thirsty for what else it has to offer.
I feel similarly about the wines of Croatia.
I’ve been drinking a lot of Sicilian wines recently. They’re such a crowd pleaser and such a good bang for your buck. Especially with the summer coming around, they’re one of my favorite pairings with this hot weather.
Q: Speaking of pairing, can you tell us more about the future of Pair Devil?
A: Well, I originally started #pairdevil because I wanted to encourage this idea that wine didn’t have to be saved for special occasions, but could actually be the thing that makes an occasion special—an occasion as mundane as a Tuesday night, when you’re just exhausted. Those are often the times when, to me, a glass of wine can be most delicious. It’s been so gratifying to see people posting their own #pairdevil creations. Since back when I started it, #pairdevil has really taken on a life of its own.
Q: Seeing that type of reaction, it has to be a bit surreal for you to see people draft behind you and use your hashtags. How does it feel to become someone else’s wine hero?
A: I didn’t know what would happen when I set off on the journey that came to be Cork Dork. I had no clue where it would end. The reception has been beyond my wildest dreams. I feel so grateful.
Every reader that posts a note on Instagram or sends me an email to say they have read the book is my best friend. That is how I feel. Whenever I hear that, I just want to hug that person.
The book has meant so much to me and has been such a big part of my life. The fact that it has found its way into other people’s lives has been a dream come true. What is also so phenomenal is seeing Cork Dork make its way around the world and into other languages. That is a total thrill.
Q: What positive things have happened in the past two years in the industry, and what does the future of wine look like?
A: For a long time, diners have been very concerned with whether the food they are eating was humanely treated and grown. And yet I think they’ve been slower to think about whether the human beings working in the industry are being humanely treated. We are seeing more awareness and conversation about ensuring a career in food and beverage is something healthy, supportive, and sustainable, which I think is critically important, but we still have a long way to go.
I hope this awareness and concern continues and actually makes things better.
Q: Is there anything you are saving?
A: Yes! I was helping with a session at a food and wine festival, and one of the somms poured this wine that I immediately fell in love with. It’s called Valcanzjria, and it’s produced by Gulfi. It’s a Sicilian white wine, a blend of Chardonnay and Carricante.
I went to buy some, and, lo and behold, I found that it was basically impossible to find. I think people have stopped importing this wine. So, I posted an Instagram story about it asking if anyone knew where to find this wine.
A little while later, I got an email from Steven at 57th Street Wines, which is a wine shop in Chicago that hosted me for a reading. He said, “We have a case!” It was amazing, a happy connection and so thoughtful.
I bought a few bottles and have been carefully dolling them out. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been so stingy about them because I don’t know if Ill be able to get more. I can’t wait too long to drink them. And besides, the whole point of wine is sharing it.
If someone happens to see this and know where I can find even more of it then I’ll stop hogging it and drink more of it.
Q: Is there any advice you would give yourself two years ago?
A: This is actually advice I got from someone else. I was talking to another author and her advice was to just say yes to everything. That was advice that I really took to heart over the past two years. I still feel that way. It’s hard, but it’s that mindset of being open to opportunity and meeting new people. I think that it has led to really great things.
Want More Bianca Bosker?
Buy Cork Dork here.
Listen to her interview with Jancis Robinson.
Read her New York Times article What it Takes to be a Master Sommelier.
About Bianca Bosker
Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist and the author of the New York Times bestseller CORK DORK: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste, which has been hailed as the “KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL of wine.”
She has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New Republic, among other publications.
She previously authored ORIGINAL COPIES, the first definitive account of China’s “duplitecture” movement and a critically acclaimed exploration of China’s copy culture. Described as “fascinating” by the New York Review of Books, ORIGINAL COPIES (University of Hawaii Press/Hong Kong University Press, 2013) continues to be featured in leading publications and was selected as a Book of the Year Award finalist by Foreword Reviews, in addition to being named one of Gizmodo’s Best Books of the Year.
Bosker co-founded The Huffington Post’s tech section and served as the site’s Executive Tech Editor until 2014. Her writing has been recognized with multiple awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, as well as the Society of Professional Journalists.
Though her arm swing is a bit rusty, she is also the co-author of a cultural history of bowling, Bowled Over: A Roll Down Memory Lane (Chronicle Books: 2002).
She grew up in Portland, Oregon, graduated from Princeton University, and currently lives in New York City. Her lesser-known exploits include training alongside butlers in Chengdu, obsessively collecting graphic novels, and pairing wines with takeout (see #pairdevil).