Phone call from David Bullard this morning from Exclusive Books in Hyde Park. He was trying to buy a copy of Sour Grapes for himself as a Christmas stocking filler but although the bookshop says they have a copy, nobody can find it. Nothing on the food and wine shelves so I told him to check out Africana – that’s where the Killarney branch house their copy. Next to Stephen Gray’s biography of Herman Charles Bosman. Or could the Hyde Park copy have been shoplifted? Or was there such a stormloop after this morning’s Radio Sonder Grense panel discussion between wyn kenners Emile Joubert and Melvyn Minnaar on the blind versus sighted wine tasting issues raised in Sour Grapes that Exclusive is sold out? Unlikely…
As the teaser for Freek Robinson’s Praat Saam RSG program noted: “Freek Robinson praat op ‘n ligter trant oor die twiste in die wynbedryf. Ná ‘n onlangse boek van die kenner, Neil Pendock, spat die vonke oor bewerings van bevoordeling in wynproe, snobisme, hoogdrawendheid, klieks, buitensporige pryse en suur druiwe.”
My own contribution was an e-mail (in Afrikaans, nogal) to the studio noting that I had nothing against sighted tastings, per se, just that how could you expect realistic assessments when the people doing the sighted ratings are chairpersons of Backsberg, commercial winemakers reviewing their peers, retailers with stock to sell, etc.
Of course Sour Grapes is about much more than tasting methodologies as people who bother to read the book, rather than ego surfing the index looking for their own moniker, will find out. Some of them even write reviews of the book without bothering to read it. Now that takes real skill.