Wine Books: Graham Harding
Graham Harding is Chairman of the Oxford Wine Club and was joint founder of the Oxford Wine Forum. His collection of wine anecdotes, facts, figures and miscellanea have been brought together as A Wine Miscellany.
I once knew a guy who owned a palatial residence just outside Chester; it had the grandeur of a stately home, and probably a grand mortgage to match. I used to attend tastings there, in the dining room which looked out onto a vista of green fields and distant woods, populated by dairy cattle and hopping bunnies. One of the more amusing aspects of the house was in the downstairs loo, where the windowsill behind the cistern played host to a pile of books obviously designed for the smallest room; 101 Witty Golf Anecdotes and similar titles. I think A Wine Miscellany might make a fine addition to that pile.
Graham Harding has put together a handsome collection of miscellaneous stories, reports, statistics, facts and anecdotes into this 172-page pocket book. If you have ever desired a single resource which will not only inform as to which bottles James Bond drank, and in which films he did so, but will also yield information on the furthest ever flight by a freshly released Champagne cork, then this is the book for you. I found the myriad of items presented within to be nicely written and, refreshingly, largely factually correct and also rather contemporary, touching on subjects such as a fad for English sparkling wine in the Archers (a very popular UK radio show, for those not in the know) in 2003, a UK wine charity event called The Full Monty, in which some well known wine celebrities bared all (2005) and harvest dates, again referencing 2003. My only niggle at the end of the book is working out who it is for. I suspect it is the wine-interested rather than the true anorak-wearing wine geek; although in truth, I suppose the only essential criterion required to enjoy this book is a small shelf or windowsill, perhaps in the smallest room, so that one can dip in from time to time. With that proviso in mind, I think Harding's Wine Miscellany would make an entertaining stocking filler for many.