The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club is the catchily titled blog turned book authored by ex-supermarket wine buyer Helen McGinn.
At first, I wondered if this would be for me. I’m not a mother – unless you’re into anthropomorphism and would count my co-parenting of a substantially-sized, black, 7 year old, male feline a.k.a. “The Boy.” He’s quite a worry – not in a “has he done his homework/cleaned his teeth/why does he spend all his time in his room on his computer” sort of way – but because of his Jekyll and Hyde nature. It’s his propensity for roughing up the neighbourood cats (incurring hefty vet bills) and at the same time being scared of his own shadow.
However, in her introduction Helen says that it’s “not a very exclusive club to say the least, but basically, if you like wine, you’re in: no dress code, no membership policy, no fees.” So I qualify…and I’m also often quite knackered!
Helen’s purpose in writing her blog/book and mine are similar – to encourage folks to explore the world of wine, to try new grapes and regions and to drink better. She gives the reader a solid introduction to how wine is produced, what to look for on a label, how to describe what’s in your glass and how the wine made from different grape types tastes. At the end of the book her aim is for the reader to have a fully-loaded “wine satnav” to help them find their way around the shelves with confidence and to choose the right tipple for every occasion.
The book is readable and in bite-size chunks – ideal for time-poor Mums I guess – there are short sections on sulphur in wine, screw caps vs. corks and a port primer. I particularly liked the section on which wine to drink with which literary genre at your book club. Helen suggests books about the corridors of power should be accompanied by “Semillion: a white grape, sometimes fruity, sometimes oily. Like politicians.”
The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club is a really good introduction to the basics of wine, written in a humorous and accessible way. It is published by Macmillan and costs £12.99 – although bargain hunters will find it online for about a third off.
Read more from Helen on her blog.