My Sommelier Is a Comic

A Japanese manga book makes learning about wine tasting fun


Copyright © 2011 Tadashi Agi - Shu Okimoto. All Rights Reserved

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Saving the universe from killer robots, it turns out, is mere child’s play compared to the exquisite pleasures of savoring a 2001 Château Mont-Perat. That, perhaps, is one of the lessons to be taken away from the success of The Drops of God, a huge-selling manga, or comic, centered around wine tasting that has swept Japan by storm and is making inroads in many other countries, including the United States, where it was recently published by Vertical Inc. The website Gilt Taste (Aug. 22, 2011) reports on the romance- and intrigue-filled manga created by the brother-and-sister duo Shin and Yuko Kibayashi:

“Through the dramas of their wine-drinking characters, the Kibayashis instruct readers on how to taste wine. It’s hilarious, for sure, when a young woman swoons over a man’s decanting skills, but it’s also a great way to draw attention to the technical proficiency of a beautiful pour without getting too technical. And that’s what’s truly extraordinary about Drops of God: It makes learning about wine—which, let’s face it, can be a totally tedious thing for the non-obsessed—really fun.”

Humor-impaired oenophiles who are inclined to look down their noses at manga ought to check themselves: The strip is so influential that a mere mention can send a wine’s commercial value skyrocketing.

Cover-169-thumb.jpgHave something to say? Send a letter to This article first appeared in the January-February 2012 issue of Utne Reader.