Okay, I’m in love… It’s not a “crush” for me, either. It’s sheer, unadulterated adoration.

My new love affair is with Eric Arnold, a young wine writer who’s just come onto the scene, with his new wine book entitled First Big Crush, published by Scribner (a division of Simon & Shuster, Inc.) in New York. The book is subtitled, The Down and Dirty on Making Great Wine… Down Under.

This is a “must read” book for anyone who wants [or needs to know about] wine production. [Wine writers and educators, take note: First Big Crush takes you places you need to go to thoroughly understand the process of winemaking, but you’re too busy to take time away from your life long enough to get this dirty.]

As I read Eric’s book, I was reminded of my own experiences when working at Mondavi, where I had created my own stand-up comedy routine called, “Why I Want to Be Reborn as a Yeast on a Chardonnay Grape.” If I hadn’t created this routine first, Eric would have, no doubt… Except my job was as a wine educator, and Eric’s job was as a “crush” worker in Australia for a year at Allen Scott Wines; so, I know he’s crafting his own routine about that one.

Honestly, in all the things I’ve taught, each one has had a common thread… humor. We easily remember funny stories, versus something delivered in dry, intimidating verbiage. Eric represents the former as a new wine educator.

When a book I’m reading makes me spontaneously laugh out loud, it’s an instant favorite. When a book adds important information to my own repetoire, it’s an instant library addition. And, when a book goes into my library, it’s because I’ll need it for referencing. First Big Crush is now in my library with all my other necessary-to-keep books.

It’s a necessary-to-read book, not just because it’s the chronicled journal of a cellar worker who explains in great detail exactly how wine is made from the insider’s perspective. It’s also very important because of its tone.

The First Big Crush is written in a style that’s lightheartedly funny. It’s full of foibles and recovery… or not. The text reminds me of being with a best friend, where words aren’t guarded, because if they were we’d lose half the point. Eric’s writing style is inviting, hysterical (he’s written jokes for Jay Leno), very earthy, and here’s the most important point of all… First Big Crush will welcome in a whole new generation of wine lovers, because he speaks their language. It’s refreshing as well as fresh… I’m laughing just thinking about it, and my kids (they’re in their 20s and 30s) are eyeballing my copy. [I’m a good sharer of books, but I think I’ll have to get each of them their own copies.]

Suggested Retail: $23.00