Jean-Charles Boisset's interactive wine book revamps wine tasting experience

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‘The Alchemy of the Senses” is a rare book, a 10-pound, red velvet interactive tome that engages readers with wine-centric encounters.

Jean-Charles Boisset, the vintner behind the $395 book, said people aren’t content to simply drink wine anymore. They want a wine adventure and the book is an extension of the interactive play at several of Boisset’s wineries — St. Helena’s Raymond Vineyards, Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery and Santa Rosa’s DeLoach Vineyards.

At Raymond, for example, tasters are invited to put on a white coat and blend wine in the lab. The winery also has an aroma passageway where tasters can sniff their way through a lineup of scents.

“We realize that wine enthusiasts and visitors to Wine Country are looking for a broader experience than in the past, when they might have been content to simply taste wines while standing at a bar and repeating this activity at several wineries in one day,” Boisset said. “Guests are looking for an experience, and what better experience than one in which they interact with textures, senses and emotions?”

Interactive experiences in the book include material samples to touch that illustrate the various textures of wine; a spread with scent strips to convey key aromas in wine; and a heat sensitive illustration of a decanter. Readers are invited to pour specific wines to enhance each playful interactive adventure.

The 236-page book took three years to complete, offering readers activities they can touch and see, as well as smell and hear. Readers can get a sense of the book at with a flip view version. They’ll also learn about Boisset’s dinner roll out to promote the book and how to purchase it from the site.

“Tasting wine is just one way to enjoy wine’s magical properties,” Boisset said. “There are so many additional enlightening experiences you can have.”

You can reach Wine Writer Peg Melnik at or 707-521-5310.

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