Interview with member Len Napolitano, author of Nose, Legs, Body! Know Wine Like the Back of Your Hand
Book Title: Nose, Legs, Body! Know Wine Like the Back of Your Hand
Your book’s Amazon purchase link:
What is your book about? It’s all about wine, concisely answering 50 popular questions about wine appreciation, tasting, producing, growing, buying, and enjoying with food. Chosen “One of the best booze books of 2013” by Anthony Head, The Armchair Oenophile®, Nose, Legs, Body! is an easy-reading, quick lesson for anyone who loves wine or just wants to break through its mystique and understand it better.
What inspired you to write your book? I had collected 10 years’ worth of wine questions from—and answers to—readers of my weekly wine magazine and newspaper columns. I envisioned a compilation of them in a single volume, with further thoughts on each topic, that would be of interest to wine lovers—even those who wouldn’t normally think about reading a book about wine. Also, there is a very successful wine book that sells in many wine-tasting rooms and has been around for about 12 years now. I wanted my book to be as timeless as that book, The Wine Bible, by Karen MacNeil, but more concise and less intimidating than that book’s 900-plus pages. My book gives readers a nice overview of wine, is fewer than 200 pages, and very approachable for the beginner.
Can you describe your writing process?
I wrote the majority of my book between the hours of 5AM and 8AM over the course of about seven months. I feel this is the best time for me because my mind is sharpest in the morning and it allows me to leave the rest of the day for other work that pays the bills in the meantime. When the writing process hit occasional mental blocks, I put it aside for a few days to get back on track. I try to take a natural, conversational approach to my writing. Then edit, edit, edit.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
From a combination of good writing skills learned in 6th grade, a natural desire to educate others, and more than 10 years of passion for the subject, out popped a book! But just between you and me, the ease and economical cost of self-publishing a book today is really what made me an author!
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
Office days are spent at the desktop computer, keeping up with news—industry-wise and current event-wise—and doing what I do in the field of wine. I am involved in the subject of wine from all sides—as a producer, a supplier, a marketer, a consumer, and writer and educator. When I travel for work, it is always to visit wineries in the major wine regions, mostly in California. I stay immersed in my subject all day long, whether working from home or on the road.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I like coming up with new ideas, whether for new products, new wines, or a new book!
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
People who are passionate about their subject, which motivates me to think more about what I can do, inspire me. My first wine school instructor at the Chicago Wine School was probably my first wine-related inspiration. Today, Wes Hagen, an entertaining and thoroughly knowledgeable wine grower in Santa Barbara, is probably my most recent, with a few others in between. I also enjoy reading the long-established editorial writers in the traditional print wine publications, such as Matt Kramer and Jim Laube at Wine Spectator magazine.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
I try hard to limit my wine consumption! I enjoy wine with dinner, on average, maybe only two nights a week, and that surprises a lot of people. Also, I am a news junkie and I play softball every week in a community league.
What’s next for you?
I have an idea for a new wine book that will approach the subject from an angle I believe has not been done before. I’m not sure how the structure will work, so until that gets established, it’s still in the planning stage.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Before I wrote my book, I already had in mind the primary sales outlet, which is the tasting room gift shop. I had a clear idea of who the readers would be and I wrote as if I were talking directly to them at the tasting bar. I am fortunate to have the tasting room gift shop to sell the book, rather than solely relying on sales through Amazon.