Louisville author releases “Big Macs & Burgundy,” a book of creative wine pairings for the everyday connoisseur
By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos by Michelle McSwain
Illustrations by The Ellaphant in the Room
Calling all wine and food lovers! Louisville native, Vanessa Price, is releasing her new book titled “Big Macs & Burgundy” with co-author Adam Laukhuf on Oct. 13. The book is a spin-off of a column she wrote for New York Magazine titled “Wine Pairings of the Week.”
The book explains wine pairings in an easy-to-understand way that encourages people to wine pair in everyday situations, not just at five-star restaurants. The book is filled with more than 300 wine and food pairing ideas, “from veggie burgers and avocado toast to General Tso’s chicken, white-cheddar popcorn and chocolate-chip pancakes.” There’s even a chapter called Wine with Breakfast, which includes Honey Nut Cheerios paired with Mendoza chardonnay.
Sloane Crosley, New York Times best-selling essayist and novelist commented, “How fitting that a book about unexpected pairings is an unexpected pairing itself — Big Macs & Burgundy is a delightful mix of personal storytelling, irresistible images and wine-world demystifying, ranging from etymology to geography. Thanks to Vanessa Price and Adam Laukhuf, I will never forget which wine pairs best with M&Ms. If we’re all lucky enough to return to movie theatres, I’m gonna need a bigger tote bag.”
Some chapters include Price “winesplaining,” making it easier for the audience to learn the art of wine pairing. Price walks readers through the wine basics, such as reading a wine label and the four main elements that matter most when talking about wine. The pages are full of colorful photographs from Michelle McSwain, who is also a Louisville native, and informational graphics from The Ellaphant in the Room, who illustrated the original New York Magazine column.
McSwain and Price have been friends since they were young children growing up in Louisville, so collaborating on a book was an instant no-brainer. When they both moved to New York City, Price asked McSwain if she would shoot wine imagery for her and thus their creative journey together began. “Little did we know that our years of creating together would end up with us having the opportunity to host gallery showings from NYC to The Hamptons and even one at Revelry Boutique in downtown Louisville!” said Price.
Price became interested in wine when she began part-time serving at a local Kentucky winery, a job that planted the seed for her lifelong career as a sommelier. Price is now a certified level four sommelier with experience in leading wine programs at several New York City restaurants. She has sold wine to some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, such as Jean-Georges.
She is now the creative director and founder of The Vinum Collective, an online “all-things-wine platform.” Price wants everyone to be confident in their knowledge of wine, so they can include it in their everyday meals. She’s also a wine writer for New York Magazine and an instructor for The Wine and Spirit Education Trust where she helps other wine enthusiasts learn more about wine, spirits and sake. Price is a managing partner of a summer restaurant pop-up in Montauk, NY called Sweet Az and she’s currently working on developing a high-end restaurant idea to open in Montauk in Spring 2021.
Price’s co-author, Adam Laukhuf, is a writer and editor, who has worked for Vanity Fair, GQ, Wired, Esquire, Entrepreneur, New York Magazine, New York Observer and the Hollywood Reporter, among many others. Laukhuf and Price have been neighbors in downtown Manhattan for 12 years. “He was kind enough to help me in the very beginning just as a friendly neighbor when I first set out to try and make a name as a writer in the wine industry,” said Price. “When the opportunity to write a book came along, I knew there was no one better to co-author this project with me. I am in awe of his talents every day. We have a unique way of communicating, much of which happens on marathon phone calls between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. No matter the issue, we always find our way to the best version of whatever piece of text or design is in question.”