Linfield College lecture about Paris wine tasting that shook world

Prominent wine writer George Taber will present “Adventures in Wine Writing: The Paris Tasting and Its Aftermath.” The free lecture will be held Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 222 of T.J. Day Hall.

Taber spent 40 years as a reporter and editor, including stints as a business editor and national economics correspondent for Time magazine, before turning his attention to writing wine books.

In his journalistic career, Taber interviewed presidents, dictators, corporate tycoons and even the Beatles. But the most important event he ever covered was a wine tasting in Paris in 1976. In a blind tasting competition, eminent French wine experts picked unknown red and white California wines over world-famous French wines.

The event, referred to as the most talked-about wine tasting of the 20th century, overturned previous views about the superiority of French wines, revolutionized perceptions of California wine, and launched a globalized wine market. Taber’s four-paragraph story about the tasting has been called “the most significant news story ever written about wine.”

Taber published an account of the event in the bestselling book, Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine. It was selected as the wine book of the year by British wine magazine Decanter, and the movie Bottle Shock was loosely based on the story.

Three wine books later, Taber is one of the most recognized wine writers of our time.

Taber’s second book, To Cork or Not To Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle, won the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Andre Simon Award for best wine book. The book was a finalist for the James Beard Award for best book on wine and alcohol.

Taber also published In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism and A Toast to Bargain Wines: How Innovators, Iconoclasts, and Winemaking Revolutionaries Are Changing the Way the World Drinks.       

A Californian by birth, Taber graduated from Georgetown University and received a master’s degree from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. He and his wife now split their year between two islands, Vero Beach, Fla., and Block Island, R.I.

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