“No one decides what you are going to have for dinner, what’s your favorite ice cream, and what flavor fluoride you take at the dentist, so why would you let someone else tell you what to drink?”

Sommeliers won’t be happy, but that’s the point of The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert, a delightful kid-style board book about a grown-up topic. Written by the expert winemaker Richard Betts, one of the world’s fewer than 200 Master Sommeliers, it has been illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton and designed by Crystal English Sacca.

The everyday wonders of this beloved beverage

Betts found himself mesmerized by the world of wine and professes to being “completely possessed by the conviction that wine is a grocery, not a luxury“. He playfully guides us into discovering and developing our very own sensibility of wine rather than adopting popular taste.

Unlike the air of snobbery that often surrounds wine culture, the approach the book takes is all about swinging the cellar door open and inviting us to savor the everyday wonders of this beloved beverage. The ability to do that, however, is a skill — and, like anything worthwhile – it’s better learned with hands-on joy than with theoretical drudgery!


The illustrations

The illustrations, equal parts irreverent and illuminating, explore the different scent and flavor profiles, brought to life by scratch-and-sniff delights on each spread for a fully synesthetic experience!

In the process, we learn about everything from the funk element in wine and what it has to do with penicillin to why the chemistry of wet cork makes it smell like wet dog — amidst, okay, some rather more appetizing learnings.

The greatest thing of all, however, is the fold-out poster which breaks down the entire wine world into a handy wheel that helps you flowchart your way to the wine best suited for your sensibility!