Most introduction to wine books are deeply unsatisfying. Why?
It’s because when people try to take the role of educator, they forget that many of their readers are actually quite smart. In many cases, the educator is dealing with people who are significantly smarter than they are.
Educators usually patronize their readers. They make the mistake of thinking that because they are in possession of a body of knowledge that their readers lack, they are therefore smarter than their readers.
There are lots of things I’d like to learn more about. Cheese, for a start. And maybe coffee. And Japanese food and drink culture. But I don’t want people to tell me about these things in the way they might talk down to a 10 year old child. I can deal with the complex bits and the interesting stuff, but what I need is for the teacher to make these subjects accessible.
Accessibility doesn’t equal dumbed down. We can have the richness of content, but it needs to be packaged in the right way. It needs to avoid relying on a corpus of background knowledge. And it needs to be interesting.
Rather than Cheese for Dummies, I want to read Cheese for Smart People. Who just don’t know much about cheese yet. And one day I’d love to write an introduction to wine book that doesn’t patronise or talk down to my readers, but recognizes that they are smart and that they want to read something interesting.
Knowing stuff doesn’t make you smart.