Having had a pulse on the wine industry for a while now, especially as it relates to the roles Blacks have played and continue to play today, it is great to see many coming forward with a continued focus on making learning about wine enjoyable and at one’s own pace. Last year we featured Charles Springfield’s “The Less is More Approach,” and because each sommelier, wine professional and winemaker has his/her own teaching style, we’re featuring Jaton Gunter’s “Fruit in Glass: Wine Myths Facts and Opinions,” this month.
The certified sommelier has been in the industry for more than 10 years, once sharing his likes and picks on his blog before launching his own company that offered private buying for clients wanting to set up a wine collection. He wrote “Fruit in Glass,” in 2017 as another way to help others navigate through the wine world in a way that is comfortable to them.
An easy read, “Fruit in Glass” features 15 relatively short chapters that begin with a thought or quote from a fellow somm or wine professional. Along the way, he walks readers through how to select a bottle and it not based on a cute label, how the name sounds, or even how pretty the rose looks. Instead, he advises digging a little deeper, looking at the country of origin, the appellation or region, the year and the varietal.
Do you like wine produced in steel or oak? He can help guide you through that. See people swirling their glasses and getting all fancy in a tasting room? There is a reason this is done and also a correct way to do it. Thanks to Gunter, he’ll walk you through that too.
One of several debates that Gunter addresses is how to pair wine with food. While I have heard many wine producers say drink what you like with what you like to eat, they also know a good pairing will really bring out flavor characteristics of the wine and enhance the enjoyment of the food. Gunter has a lot of great tips for how to pair wine with seafood, chicken, pork, beef and even vegetables to make a memorable culinary experience.
One of my favorite chapters is about “the legs” in a wine glass. You know, you turn it sideways, do a little turn and watch the wine come down creating these legs on the side. His thoughts when trying to understand what that means, “Don’t overthink it.” He goes on to say that those in the industry do not pay attention to this in terms of determining if a wine is good or not and suggest that you don’t either.
Again, Gunter’s simplistic approach to explaining the legs and other wine industry myths make this book one to have on your bookshelf as a reference. Before you get into heavier reads such as “The Wine Bible,” just like you should with wine, take it easy and pace yourself.
Gunter extends education moments to his three vlogs, “Wine Tasting With Giants,” “Wine Wednesdays” and “Wine Steals of the Week,” which you can watch on IGTV.
His wine apparel gear, WinO Gear, is a fun collection sold on Etsy that includes shirts, hoodies, aprons and caps to put one’s love of wine on full display. You can also purchase a copy of his book there as well.