Where was THIS when I was in wine school? Good thing wine studies last a lifetime, art is cathartic and understanding maps satisfy the soul. The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book is a new study guide for the young at heart, and an exercise in staying within the lines for the young. A dream seen through to the colourful end, the book was created and self published by Louise Wilson, a sommelier who is a familiar name to many in the local wine industry. Though she has now relocated to Ontario’s Niagara region, Wilson befriended many in Victoria during her stint at Hillside Liquor Store, her wine diploma studies with ISG and WSET, her work as a sales rep for Andrew Peller and her role as a wine educator. She is now a Master of Wine candidate, and I caught up with her in between her very busy travel as International Sales Manager for Peller.
EAT – The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book is obviously a labour of love and a long time in the making. Tell me about your inspiration for the book.
Well the idea came to me when I was studying (with you!) for the ISG diploma exam. I really wanted to make a study guide that would bring things down to the basics, thinking that you can always build from there. Plus I wanted to create something that would be fun and approachable, disarming even (sometimes learning about wine can be kind of intimidating). So once it was done I thought, yes, it is a good study tool, but I think it also makes a fun gift for the wine lover who has (almost) everything.
EAT – How long did this project take from start to finish?
Well I thought about it for 4 years then I got to work and it took me 2 years to finish.
EAT – Did you do any market research prior to starting the book?
I looked and looked for something like it and I still have never seen anything. I didn’t do any other market research. I guess I just thought I would like it so maybe other people would too.
EAT – At first glance the book appears to be aimed towards children – it IS a colouring book. But the region notes are very detailed with appellation law and varietal information. Who do you see your book aimed towards?
The world is filled with people who love wine as much as I do. It’s for all of us. The coloring book started as a way to really make learning about wine fun and easy, as a guide for students. That is why it has so much detailed information, but now that it is finished, I think it makes a great gift too.
EAT – How do you recommend wine students use the book in their studies?
I would recommend reading about the region, studying the precoloured map, and then testing your knowledge by coloring in the blank map.
EAT – What are your goals for the book?
To make people smile.
EAT – In your preface, you write, “If you follow your passion, you will never work a day in your life.” Wine is obviously a passion for you – tell me a little bit about how you started in this industry, and your path to where you are today.
I think many of us have had an experience with that one special glass of wine that has transported us from a normal person into a wine fanatic. Mine was a glass of Pfaffenheim Gewurztraminer at the bar of Brasserie L’ecole. I got so excited about the aromas and the flavors that I was experiencing, I decided to start taking wine education classes. I’ve never been the same since. There is so much to learn – it’s fascinating. After I graduated with my sommelier diploma from ISG, I had an opportunity to work as a sales representative for Peller Estates WInery. I love working for Peller. I am so proud of the wine that I sell that I wanted to share it with more and more people. So when the opportunity come up to become the International Sales manager, I thought it was a perfect fit. Now I get to share Peller wine with the whole world. My day to day job entails working with our network of distributors all over the world, from Korea, to London to New York City. Our wine is offered in some of the best restaurants and shops in the world and (lucky me) I get to travel and visit these people and places.
EAT – You self-published the book. Would you recommend this route?
Yes, it’s a fantastic learning experience.
EAT – Where can people purchase the book?
Right now online at wineloverscoloringbook.com but I have had a few requests from retailers too, so shortly it will be available in select wine shops and book stores across Canada and the US.
EAT – Outside of The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book (naturally), what resources – traditional or otherwise – do you recommend for wine students, both at a beginners level, and at a very advanced level, like yours?
I think that wine education classes are the way to go. Both the ISG and WSET are good options. I like the courses because you learn the theory, and get to taste the wine while learning from a knowledgable instructor. But the best things about the courses are the people you meet. I met many of my closest friends through wine classes. My favorite print resources are Fine Wine Magazine, Oz Clarke’s Grapes and Vines, Tom Stevenson’s Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, Karen MacNeil’s The WIne Bible and Jancis Robinson’s Oxford’s Companion.
EAT – Your work and studies provide many travel opportunities. What do wine industry people you meet outside of Canada think about Canadian wines?
People love Canadian wines. Especially icewine. They wish we made more, so we had more to share.
The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (January 1, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces