Book reviews 2020 – somm stories

Wine Girl by Victoria James - book cover

Two sommeliers, on different sides of the Atlantic, tell their stories of grit, spit and triumph.

Victoria James sommelier
Victoria James

Wine Girl 
A sommelier's tale of making it in the toxic world of fine dining 
Victoria James 
Fleet 
ISBN 9780349726274 
£16.99, $26.99

‘She was full-bodied but with a short finish.’

In describing herself as a ‘juxtaposition of blue blood and blue collar’ (one grandmother an orphaned Tennessee cotton picker and the other a Piemontese countess), Victoria James explains why she was perfect sommelier material – ‘essentially a highbrow servant’.

Her upbringing as one of four siblings swung between neglect at the hands of a...