Want to learn about wine without falling asleep? Want to engage your visual senses while you taste wines from around the world?
The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book is a great place to start. In the video above, author Louise Wilson and I chat about how she conceived the idea while taking the International Sommelier Guild courses.
While the book may sound like it’s for children, don’t be deceived (or have preconceived notions). It’s part of next evolution of wine books that engage our senses.
Currently, a scratch and sniff wine book by a master sommelier is #11 on the New York Times bestseller list.
In the Wine Lover’s Colouring Book, you’ll tour the wine regions of the world brought to life through the book’s beautiful full-colour maps, then test yourself to see how much you remember by labeling them. There’s also lots of great information about wines from each region to put the maps in context.
You can watch part of our video chat about this wine book.
Gorgeous Wine Book Maps Wine Regions and Grapes
Natalie: Louise Wilson is an accredited sommelier with the International Sommelier Guild and she also holds a diploma from The Wine and Spirits Education Trust. She’s the author of The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book and she joins me from her home in the heart of the Niagara Wine Country today to talk about that. Welcome Louise.
Louise: Hi Natalie, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Natalie: Terrific. Before we jump into your book, let’s talk about how you developed a passion for wine, maybe the first memorable wine that you recall tasting. Where were you? What was it?
Louise: Yes, I remember exactly where I was. I was just starting to learn about wine, and a friend and I went to a fantastic little restaurant in Victoria and she knew more about wine than I did so she ordered me a glass of Pfaffenheim Gewurztraminer.
Natalie: Oh, that’s a mouthful.
Louise: Yes, that must have been the first Gewurztraminer I ever had because it knocked my socks off. You know all those aromas and fragrances and I didn’t realize wine could be like that and so for me that was a game changer. So, that was the wine that really sparked my interest and my curiosity, and it goes on from there.
Natalie: That’s terrific. There’s usually a pivotal wine. And then you pursued lots of studies with very reputable organizations, The International Sommelier Guild and so on. So what encouraged you or gave you the idea for the Wine Lover’s Coloring Book here?
Louise. Well, I really wanted to create a fun and easy way for people to learn about where in the world wines comes from. So the book really captures or intends to capture the fun and relaxed attitude towards learning about wine. So the book has 50 fully colored maps, colored and labeled maps showing you where wine is made, which grapes were used and then on the opposite page is the same map blank.
Louise: If you like, you can test your memory by coloring in.
Natalie: Absolutely. These are gorgeous maps, I must say Louise. That’s a lot of work that you’ve invested in this because when I first saw this book, I thought “Oh, a children’s coloring book! How interesting!” But actually it goes way beyond that because you get these beautiful maps and then a really engaging exercise to try to remember what was on it. But the descriptions of the regions are quite detailed, they’re not for kids at all, they’re very adult level.
Louise: Absolutely, there is quite a bit of information in it but it was important to me that the information was presented in bit-sized pieces. So that, as a wine lover let’s say you’re enjoying a glass of Bordeaux one night and you curious, “hmm, what grapes might be in this one?” You can flip to the Bordeaux page and quickly jump in and find out what grapes might be in that wine and then come back out. So, for me, getting in and out, getting the skinny on what you’re looking for was really important. So I wanted that kind of resource for wine people.
Natalie: And do you find that because you present the map and then you’ve got the blank, is it a more engaging way to learn, trying to remember what you saw and repeat the regions over here versus reading a lot of text and that sort of thing because wine can be just a little tedious when you’re learning about it. Has this been effective, have you got feedback on this?
Louise: Yes, I think the visual aspect is appealing to people. I’ve heard that not only reading but seeing and doing kind of helps to cement things into your memory so hopefully it is really a good learning tool but you know, above all else it’s meant to be fun and easy and approachable, so really, those were the inspirations for the book.
Natalie: To develop these maps, did you have to work with a cartographer or map expert? How did you get all of this information because it’s quite a precise science when it comes to mapping regions or any region?
Louise: Yes, and if you were a cartographer you’d probably notice that the maps aren’t exactly as you’d find in an Atlas. I did all the maps myself, drew them out by hand.
Louise: And then have someone digitize them so, really, it’s meant to give you an idea of what is where in the world but they’re absolutely not intended to be Atlas specific but more of a general idea of what’s from where.
Natalie: Yes, I think that’s what most people want unless you want to be the master of wine, which you are on the route to being. But you know, I think if we can get the general idea because I find a lot of maps, wine maps, are so detailed, so tiny the text, I’m not going to remember any of that. Whereas if I get the gestalt of where the major regions are in North America like this, it’s much more helpful.
Louise: It’s the big picture, that’s the way I like to learn is the big picture and then if you want to go into more fine details there’s obviously fantastic reference books that you know, show the rivers and the mountains and all the other things that influence the wine but to me, it’s just the big picture, where it comes from and what grapes are in it.
Natalie: Awesome, that’s great. Well thanks Louise for joining me for this part of our conversation. We’re going to come back and taste a wine together and talk more about this terrific book, The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book. Thanks, Louise.
Louise: Thanks, Natalie.
The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book is available online through Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and most other Amazon stores by country, as well as at select wineries and bookstores and Louise’s own site below.
Louise Wilson is an accredited sommelier with the International Sommelier Guild and holds a diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious Yalumba scholarship through the Master of Wine Institute. Louise is a sought-after educator and public speaker, and believes learning about wine should be fun and informative. Find out more about her and her book on her site The Wine Lover’s Colouring Book.