By Chet Yarbrough
Written by: Bianka Bosker
Narrated by: Bianka Boska
Bianka Boska’s image and voice live up to one’s expectation of the sybaritic life of a sommelier. Young, attractive, and purpose driven, Boska is a writer worth listening to. “Cork Dork” tells the story of what it means to be a sommelier. It reveals the details of an education for the taste and smell of wine. The best sommeliers are characterized as wine connoisseurs who can sell Brooklyn to a monkey. Like most consumers of “nectar of the vine”, wine drinkers have an unschooled (often ignorant) appreciation of what, when, and how to create and consume a beverage from a process that dates to prehistoric times.
Boska sprightly explains her decision to journey into the world of wine. With youth, energy, and commitment, Boska writes with journalistic integrity. Her journey begins with an intent to become a sommelier in one year when the average time commitment is three. As a judicious journalist, Boska meticulously pursues the details of wine content, tasting, and service. She experiences each detail during a year of wine-elements research, tasting, and restaurant service. Each discipline shows Boska to be a determined, intelligent, hedonistic and committed oenophile.
In some respects, the author’s journey exposes the falseness of a profession intent on running up restaurant bills by selling over-priced wines to an ignorant public. On the other hand, Boska acknowledges an extraordinary sensory experience that may come from a subjective appreciation of the smell and taste of a fine wine.
A listener’s surprising revelation from Boska’s story is in becoming a sommelier, wine tasting begins early in the day to leave many with a headache in the morning. Every week becomes a cycle of drinking and recovering. Becoming a sommelier is no profession for anyone subject to addiction.
Both experimentation and science are noted in Boska’s explanation of sommelier education. Training requires improving the aspiring sommelier’s senses; particularly smell and taste.
Boska purchases a variety of spices to experience smells that provide elemental categorization; leading to a descriptive vocabulary for describing wine characteristics. Boska seems to prove the utility of the experience by having a brain scan. Parts of Boska’s brain show stimulation from her sense of smell that are not common among non-sommelier subjects.
Boska succeeds in becoming an accredited sommelier within a year. What one draws from her detailed story is that wine appreciation is a subjective experience but a good sommelier can guide a “good-smeller” to an extraordinary out-of-body experience. There is a price to be paid for the journey, but for the right consumer Boska implies a wine tasting is priceless.