Canadian Master Sommelier and wine critic John Szabo has launched a first-of-its-kind book focusing on wines made from grapes grown on volcanic soils.

John is the author of Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power, winner of the 2016 André Simon Awards Drink category and “one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject” according to Drinks Business Magazine. John’s book was also listed among the top drinks books of 2016 in The Guardian, Forbes Magazine, Decanter, Globe & Mail and JancisRobinson.com, among others, establishing a clear interest in this emerging category. John will share some of the insight gathered on his research around the world and discuss what makes volcanic wines unique.

Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power, the book is thought to be the first to use volcanic soil as the overarching theme to introduce a wide range of grapes and wine regions.

As well as introducing the subject of how volcanoes are formed and providing a glossary of volcanic and geological terms, Szabo focuses on eight distinct geographic regions of the world, introducing specific wineries from each region.

The regions chosen are the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Chile, Macaronesia (In which Canary Wine is found), Alsace and Germany, Italy, Santorini and Hungary.

The book launch comes as interest in volcanic wines as a discrete category continues to grow, not just among wine trade professionals but also among consumers.

In addition, volcanic wines are occupying an increasingly prominent position on trend-setting restaurant wine lists. Yotam Ottolenghi’s London restaurant Nopi now has a small section devoted specifically to wines of volcanic origin.

“While consumers tend to rely on grape variety as their main purchasing cue, as the market broadens and general knowledge of wine expands, terroir now figures more prominently in their thinking,”

Jonh Szabo

John Szabo MS

John Szabo MS

Master Sommelier John Szabo was the first Canadian to add the “MS” after his name in 2004. He was listed as “Canada’s best-known sommelier” in Meininger’s Wine Business International.

He writes occasionally for US-based Wine & Spirits Magazine, and has published in dozens of other magazines and newspapers. His books include Pairing Food and Wine For Dummies (Wiley, December 2012), and Sommelier Management (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, Revised Edition 2013). But volcanoes are John’s current fatal attraction. His latest book, Volcanic Wines, Salt, Grit and Power, was published in September 2016.

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