Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 33

scratch and sniff stickers
These make me happy.

My mother-in-law gave me a scratch-and-sniff book for Christmas.  Joy to the world!  As a child of the 80s, I have a nostalgic soft-spot for scratch-and-sniff. Remember those scratch-and-sniff stickers the teachers used to put on our papers when we did a “berry good” job on something?  I used to do my homework just for a shot at earning the root beer sticker.

But this isn’t just any scratch-and-sniff book . . . it’s a scratch-and-sniff book about wine!  Oh, and just to make me feel even more mawkish, it’s a board book.


I looked up the reviews on Amazon, and they are mostly (but not overwhelmingly) positive.
You have to take this book for what it is:  cute, fun and a little bit funny.  To those who called the book childish, simplistic and condescending — lighten up, Francis!  It’s not supposed to be an academic treatise on wine.  The market is flooded with those.  The author, Richard Betts, is a master sommelier (that means he knows more about wine than you do).  Roll with it.  Betts is just having some fun — pour yourself a glass of wine and join him!

That said, the scratch-and-sniff stickers are pretty weak and mostly a fail (apparently, they don’t make scratch-and-sniff stickers like they used to).  But it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, because I already know what a pear, a peach, and bacon smell like.  Noticeably absent:  a scratch & sniff cat pee sticker.  😉

Betts distills wine down to three big ideas:

  1. We all have a nose.  Use it.
  2. Tasting = smelling.  And only your nose gets to decide what a “good” wine is. (Hear, hear).
  3. The wine universe consists of:  fruit, wood, earth, and other.  (Cat pee is other, in case you’re wondering).

But the best words from the whole book are right on the cover:

Wine-is-a-grocery-not-aBetts goes on to say, “When my work is done, we’ll all have wine like civilized people do the world over — at lunch, at dinner, with food, family, and friends.  Doesn’t matter what it is — heck, pour it out of a pitcher, pull it our of a box, drink it out of a tumbler — just as long as it makes you smile.”

Amen to that.

Thanks to my mother-in-law for this book . . . and the smile that goes with it.



  1. I just watched Richard Betts give a wine tasting class on Creative Live a few weeks ago! Though he was not really the charismatic character I am used to watching, he impacted enough knowledge that I purchased the course to watch offline and in full.


  2. Love the trip down memory lane and love the idea of that book! Sounds like good gift-giving material for the wine-lovers in my life with a sense of humor 🙂 Of course, that’s the only kind I have.


  3. What a great gift! I saw this book online a few months ago and since have often wondered how accurately it might convey different wines’ signature aromas. As you said, though, it seems more like something that’s meant to be fun and humorous, rather than an academic-level dissection/analysis of wine aromatics. Your post has intrigued me enough that I may have to get my own copy after all. Thank you, and Happy new Year! : )


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