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January 31, 2012 / Amy Bradney-George

Don’t judge a book (or anything else) by it’s cover

There’s a lot of books out at the moment that have movie pictures on them, thanks to the recent slew of book-to-movie adaptations. I’m one of those people who always avoids the movie covers on books as well, and I’ll even wait months or years to read a book I’ve wanted to read if I find out a movie has been made. It’s weird, I know, but I don’t think I’m the only one out there like that (right?).

Book covers that leave things to our imagination are far more appealing to me than promotional movie covers.

Take The Hunger Games, for example. At the start of 2011 I was visiting friends in Philadelphia who suggested it to me, saying it was an interesting concept and fun to read. Both of them are avid readers and one of them is also an amazing writer, so I took the recommendation on board. But I never found the book, and when news of the impending movie grew, it seemed to disappear entirely as people snatched up copies.

Now the book is back, with promo pictures and all. Not my cup of tea, and I’m annoyed at myself for not reading it sooner. One day I’ll get to it because it does sound good but it will probably be a few years later, as was the case with Twilight (which I wasn’t too sure on but decided to read after I found out friends who don’t read had loved it…that’s probably a topic for another day though).

Anyway, my latest lamentations over book covers came back to bite me in the form of that very famous saying. We’ve all heard it before, often as a metaphor for something that has a lot more to it that meets the eye. In this case, the “book” is wine and the cover is me (sort of).

I love wine and I get to write about it for work, which is the perfect excuse to drink more (and claim some of it on tax) but unlike a lot of my friends, I don’t really like sweet wine. Sure, the occasional glass of moscato or a fruity riesling might not go astray, it’s just I prefer reds or crisper whites. In the past I actually used to avoid whites all together because I don’t want to risk getting something so sweet it makes my teeth cringe.

Writing about wine, however, has helped me learn about the different varietals out there and which whites I am likely to enjoy (and which ones to avoid). So when I came across a white wine I had never heard of before, I knew I had to try it.

I was at a networking event in a trendy Fitzroy bar and noticed a white wine called Vermentino on the list. I’m sure lots of people have heard of it, but I never had. It’s only recently been separated out from “other whites” in Australian wine awards, so I must not be the only one noticing it now.

When I ordered a glass, however, the waiter gave me this condescending look and said “Uh, have you ever had Vermentino before?” I told him I hadn’t and his pained expression suggested he was trying to find an appropriate way to say “you won’t like it, sweetie.”

Maybe I should have bought the whole bottle to prove my point?

I hate being told what I won’t like. Sometimes I even pretend to like things just because people have said I won’t. So before he could carefully construct a new suggestion, I cut in with the most important question I could think of: “Is it sweet?” said with a similar air of condescention.

“No, actually it’s very…erm…” he struggled for words a lot, this guy.

“Tart? Dry? Crisp?” I offered.


“Perfect. I’ll have a glass, thanks.” He brought it back and I had fun watching his smug I-told-you-so expression change to surprise (and maybe respect) when I went through the tasting process and decided I liked it.

The Vermentino I had (a 2011 Yalumba Y Series) was crisp and citrusy with a fuller feel than I’m used to with whites, which really impressed me. I’ll admit there is a chance I liked it just because the waiter had made a judgement about what kind of wine I would like (sweet), but mostly I think I enjoyed just because it was good.

It’s funny, but for all the times people assume I’m older than I am, there are also those times when people (usually waiters or bouncers, actually) will assume I’m younger. In those cases they assume I’ll drink something “younger” people like.  There’s so much more to me than that, just like there’s so much more to a book than what’s on the cover.


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