Real talk with real wine professionals: the “four musketeers” behind the Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine unveiled

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The authors of the Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine – namely Lyka Caparas, Jacopo Fanciulli, Rebecca Lawrence, and Lan Liu – were interviewed by Monty Waldin, wine writer and host of the Italian Wine Podcast. The four wine professionals introduced themselves and gave an interesting insider’s look at how this instant book about Italian wine was conceived, took shape, and finally got published by Positive Press. All of their interviews can be found by visiting italianwinepodcast.com or other podcast platforms such as SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

The 4 musketeers of The Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine

The authors of The Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine: (from left to right) Lan Liu, Rebecca Lawrence, Jacopo Fanciulli, Lyka Caparas

You need an entry-level book for people to get into Italian wine without being intimidated by its complexity and diversity. In fact, the book wishes to take the complex world of Italian wine and put it into a bite-size chunk that would make it more accessible for people of all levels.

Unlike wine, education should never be dry. With that in mind, wine author and student Lyka Caparas; VIA Italian Wine Expert Jacopo Fanciulli; author, educator and “voice of the BBC” Rebecca Lawrence; and Vinitaly International Academy coordinator Lan Liu put together a comical, friendly, straightforward, and pretty much practical instant book called The Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine. The four wine professionals uncovered this and other curiosities about their last book during four interviews for the Italian Wine Podcast (italianwinepodcast.com), hosted by wine writer Monty Waldin.

The Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine is a compact introduction to the world of Italian wine. Lan Liu tells how he and the other authors came up with this idea: “our book was inspired by Jancis Robinson’s 24-Hour Wine Expert. We actually realized that there was a book missing for Italian wine. You need an entry-level book for people to get into Italian wine without being intimidated by its complexity and diversity.” In fact, the book wishes to take the complex world of Italian wine and put it into a bite-size chunk that would make it more accessible for people of all levels. “No talk about specific soil types or microclimate (that will come in one of the next books). This one we just really wanted to make it more interesting and exciting for people. So, we added some fun and illustrations; broader views of the region; and a little bit about grape varieties, but more just about how they taste, and where you can enjoy them”, explains Rebecca Lawrence.

The kind of contribution that this handbook represents can be useful not only for those – for example in Europe – who intend to approach the world of wine. The book can also be key to introduce the topic to those who live in countries where the culture of wine has not taken root yet, and is experienced as something new. Lyka Caparas offers her direct eyewitness account on this. She would absolutely love to make wine more accessible and less intimidating in her home, the Philippines, where there is basically no tradition in wine. “I think every innovation starts with education”, she says; “my fellow countrymen and people in general can appreciate an innovation only if they know something about it that is basic. It is fundamental to really understand and embrace that innovation.”

Still, The Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine is going to be of interest to experienced wine students as well. Even if the book is mainly designed for beginners and wine lovers, readers with a well-rounded background in wine can approach and appreciate it from a different point of view. Jacopo Fanciulli says that “it is like reading The Little Prince more than once, at different stages of your life. Let’s say you have read it for the first time as a child. As you grow up, you will catch things you missed the first time around, and you will understand every aspect on a deeper level. You can read The Little Prince again, and again, and again... and you still pick stuff up.”

The authors met in Verona, where they are all based to pursue their passion for Italian wine. This is how Rebecca Lawrence describes the team: “I am actually the only English native speaker. Lyka is our Filipina, Jacopo is our Italian… ah, he’d like me to say Ligurian, not Italian! And then we have Lan, who is from China. It was really interesting to work with such a diverse crowd because we were all coming to it from different cultural perspectives, but also from different writing styles. Lan is primarily a business MBA style; I am much more flowery and literary; Jacopo is very poetic and Italian; Lyka is quite clear and direct. As the native speaker, the person who is bringing together all of these voices, for me the biggest challenge was trying to make it sound like one voice whilst not losing the character of the other authors in the way I did that. It was a long process, but I think we really achieved it and I think that the different voices still come across in the book whilst making it an easy read overall.”

The book is available on Kindle, Amazon.com or directly from the publishers website (http://www.positivepress.net). To listen to the Italian Wine Podcast interviews with the authors of The Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine, please find the episodes 305, 325, 330, and 355 on italianwinepodcast.com, Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeartRADIO, Ximalaya, and YouTube.

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