Charles Springfield was not planning to write a book on rosé wine when he walked into a wine tasting sponsored by Vins de Provence last spring. Publication of his first book, The Less is More Approach to Winewas one week away, and his plan when he got to the tasting was to be “transported into the world of rosé wine, if only for a few hours,” before getting back to the final details on the marketing plan of his book. However, fate and his own enthusiasm for pink wine got the best of him, and by the time the event drew to a close he was already planning to write his second book—this one on rosé—before his first had even been released.
A certified sommelier, wine educator, and writer, New York-based Springfield has just released that second book, Maneuvering Rosé Wine with Style, which, as the title suggests, takes a deep dive into the world of pink wine while making suggestions for how to incorporate it into one’s life. The book begins with details of the author’s own wine journey, including his love for rosé and subsequent discovery that much of the “wine world” does not consider his favorite drink to be a beverage worthy of serious discussion. From that starting point, Springfield delves into the history of wine in general and the rise of rosé, going on to discuss the various styles of rosé wine, main grapes it is made from and regions in which it is produced, food pairing suggestions, and tips for shopping and storage. Throughout, Springfield takes the tone of a confidant who is divulging his love of pink wine without making the reader feel insecure about their level of knowledge or experience.
A fixture on the New York City wine tasting scene, Springfield leads tastings and classes for consumers and professionals alike. Although he has had to pivot to online classes during the Covid-19 crisis, he regularly holds forth on wine for groups ranging in size from four to 40 people. His offerings include wine classes, wine appreciation seminars, wine store consulting, staff training, branding, and product placement. A former print journalist who covered crime, health, entertainment, and lifestyle, Springfield has managed to turn his passion for wine into a full-time career. We had the opportunity to chat with him about Maneuvering Rosé Wine with Style and his life in wine.
World Wine Guys: What is it about rosé that inspired you to write a book about it?
Charles Springfield: There are so many inspirations when it comes to why I decided to go down the route of writing a rosé wine education book. The major inspiration for writing this book, however, is my wine students. Their thirst for knowledge about different wine styles and categories inspired me to write a book to strip away the hype surrounding rosé and present the heart and soul of a complex wine category that gets underestimated because of its appearance and overshadowed by social situations. While it is a highly popular and widely consumed wine category now, many people only understand roséfrom a limited point-of-view. I wanted to write a book that shows consumers the full picture. And with the sales of pink wines around the world reaching record heights, it felt like the right time to bring my knowledge and perspectives on the category to the table as my second wine education book.
WWG: How is your book different than the other rosé books that have been published in the last few years?
CS: While there are sure to be some similar elements in any rosé wine book, like the historical perspective for example, I modeled Maneuvering Rosé Wine with Stylebased on the wine classes I have been teaching for nearly the last 10 years in New York City. In that regard, the chapters feel like one-part wine class, one-part seminar and one-part heart-to-heart kitchen table discussions. Written in a very conversational tone,the book serves to empower consumers by providing topics and tips to help readers unearth their own personal relationship with rosé wine.With the world’s growing fascination with pink wines, I also wanted to showcase possible ways to integrate it into one’s life – whether it is sipped by a beach in the South of France or sipped at Thanksgiving dinner in Upstate New York.
WWG: How does your background in communications help you to market yourself? How does it help you get your message across in a wine tasting?
CS: It seems cliché but understanding how to communicate in any circumstance proves beneficial for creating strong relationships and trust. When it comes to promoting my business, I convey the message to various audiences that my objective as a sommelier, wine educator and author is to make wine more accessible, approachable, and fun. That tends to speak volumes to those consumers who have either felt intimidated by wine or have been made to feel that wine simply is not for them. In my classes and in my wine education books, I reassure them that wine is for everyone. No one culture or group of people has the monopoly on enjoying a good glass of wine. And I urge anyone interested in wine to get to know it on their own terms, experiment with different wine styles and get to know what they enjoy personally. Therefore, I work to democratizing wine for the enjoyment of the masses and encourage people to trust their own palates.
WWG: What is the format of your typical wine tasting?
CS: Throughout the years, I’ve taught a variety of public and private classes which vary in scope and structure. Typically, the wine classes have consisted of five to seven wines per student. The wine class themes range from Wine 101, The Art of Wine Tasting, Old World versus New World Wines, Regions of France, Italy, Spain or the United States, Southern Hemisphere Wines, Sparkling wines and, of course, Rosé wines from Around the World. Then I also do a variety of wine and food pairing classes from Cheese and Wine Pairings and Pizza with Wine to Chocolate and Wine pairings and New Orleans Creole and Wine pairings. Some classes have been more intimate with as few as four people. Then some classes, especially the intro classes and food and wine pairings, have been as large as 40 people per class. But across the board, they tend to average between 10 to 20 people for each class. Virtual wine classes are becoming the norm now. While the planning is a little different, the structure and scope of the classes can be similar.
WWG: How do people wanting to hire you to host a wine tasting find you?
CS:Anyone interested in taking one of my wine classes can contact me through my website (through the contact form) or email directly at email@example.com to plan out a personalized wine experience. They can also check out my Instagram page @thewinestylings for additional information. At this current time, the online classes will be private classes by request. But some public wine classes will be added to the calendar as we continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.