Author: Marco Pasanella
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Rating: 4 out of 5
Marco Pasanella was ready for a change, but wasn’t sure which direction he wanted his life to take. When he and his wife bought a waterfront building in Manhattan, all of a sudden, Pasanella’s purpose became clear: he decided to open a wine shop. This memoir chronicles his experiences, the ups and downs of pursuing a profession of which so many can only dream.
Owning a wine shop. For any wine lover, it really is the dream, isn’t it? That, or owning a vineyard. Marco Pasanella actually pursues this flight of fancy and makes a surprising success of his endeavors. From the beginning, it’s clear that Pasanella is a good business man. Sure, he makes mistakes and is a little too easy on difficult employees, but he isn’t afraid to take risks. He believes in his wine shop, and though he faces a tough learning curve at the beginning, Pasanella does an excellent job learning from bad experiences and striving forward.
One thing Pasanella does exceptionally well is to take the romance out of owning a wine shop. Sure, it’s lovely to take one of your favorite hobbies and turn it into a career, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s work. What’s more, there’s a lot to owning and operating a shop; it’s not just drinking amazing wine all day (though happily, there is some of that). He gives the reader an insider’s perspective into opening a wine shop, from battles with the state liquor board to the difficulties of the distribution system and acquisition of “grey market” wines.
Pasanella’s experiences were especially difficult because he opened his shop right before the economic downturn. Not only did he have to face the regular struggles of attracting customers to a brand new business, he also had to deal with the fact that people were cutting back on little luxuries, one of which were bottles of wine. Through the prism of Pasanella’s wine shop, readers really get a sense of how desperately the financial crisis hit small businesses; it’s both an informative lesson and an interesting story.
Even if Uncorked told a wonderful story, writing style is often key to whether a memoir is enjoyable or not, and happily, Pasanella’s prose measures up. He is open and engaging; it’s clear he wants to invite the reader into his life to tell his story. His writing is smooth and easy, much like the wine he sells. If you’re interested in wine or small businesses, Uncorked is definitely a great memoir to pick up.