Embarrassing Moments in Wine History I
n 1863, Englishman Thomas George Shaw published a delightful book entitled Wine, the Vine, and the Cellar
that painted an insider’s picture of the British wine trade in the early and mid-nineteenth century. He recounts how, in the 1820s, as a young clerk and salesman for a London port and sherry house, he used to play a trick on the venerated wine tasters who worked alongside him at the docks, where wine arrived from the continent. He would pour two glasses from exactly the same wooden barrel, give them to two tasters, and ask which they thought was better....