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Corkscrew: The highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer

Felix, a tragic orphan, is expelled from school, cast out onto the British high street, and forced to make his way in the cut-throat world of wine retail. Thanks to a positive mental attitude, he is soon forging a promising career, his sensual adventures taking him to the vineyards of Italy, South Africa, Bulgaria and Kent.

His path to the summit, however, is littered with obstacles. Petty office politics, psychotic managers and the British Board of Wine & Liquor prove challenging enough. But when Felix negotiates the world’s biggest Asti Spumante deal, he is plunged into a vicious world of Mafiosi, people smuggling and ruthless multinationals.

Part thriller, part self-help manual, and part drinking companion, Corkscrew is a coruscating critique of neo-liberal capitalism, religious intolerance and the perils of blind tasting.


"One of the funniest novels I've ever read. I honestly didn't want this book to end."

The Wine Stalker

"Peter Stafford-Bow’s first novel, CORKSCREW: The Highly Improbable, But Occasionally True, Tale of a Professional Wine Buyer, follows Felix Hart as he rises comically from an ejected prep school student to a major player in the wine industry, narrating his account to a panel of mysterious investigators. But CORKSCREW is more than just a string of eccentric and naughty anecdotes—it’s a chronicle of one man’s undeserving good fortune as he bounces around the world buying wine and climbing up the corporate ladder of retail. CORKSCREW will make the reader squirm, cringe, eye-roll and surely laugh out loud as he travels through the pages of this tale, negotiating, charming, escaping danger, and drinking wine with Felix."

"Boasting casual storytelling mastery and the sharp-tongued wit of Tom Robbins, Peter Stafford-Bow presents an incredibly amusing and unpredictable tale. For wine lovers or those who simply love a great story, this is a mad ramble through the tangled world of wine, taking readers across two continents and countless adventures of one exceptional character, Felix Hart. Corkscrew is a strange cross between a thriller and a farce, but Stafford-Bow pulls it off with panache – and a self-aware smirk on his face."

John Staughton

"This book gets a big thumbs up from me... this is not for youngsters."

“Felix makes a wonderfully amusing character… In short, he is perfect for this book. I have been completely entertained by Mr Stafford-Bow's writing.”

Annette’s Reviews

“It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud while reading a book- but I was chuckling, gasping, shrieking and absolutely delighted. Just don’t drink wine as you read this gem of a book, as you may find yourself laughing and sputtering wine all over!”

Jena Henry (Reviewer)

“A rather jovial and interesting tale told with much gusto and swag, about Felix's introduction into the wine buying business.”

Cherry-Ann London (Reviewer)

“A lot of humour and action… will please most readers.”

Helena Manoli (Educator)

“This is a laugh out loud book! I had a very hard time putting it down.”

Randal White (Reviewer)

“Navigating his way through a mire of escapades with a positive attitude, zest for life and determination the intrepid Felix Hart - witty, charming and sometimes ruthless - takes the reader on a rollercoaster of a ride.”

Pam Thomas (Reviewer)

“This book has it all. The entire tale mocks the rigidity of British aristocracy, the snobbery of wine circles, the unbridled greed of large corporations, while keeping a perfectly straight face. In trademark British humour, the story sails on merrily and ends up in a neat bittersweet-and-still-laughing ending.”

Idea Smith (Reviewer)

“This book is every bit as funny as the other reviewers are saying. I sometimes laughed so hard I had to stop reading.”

Jannelies Smit (Reviewer)

“Cartoonishly over-the-top romp through the British alcoholic beverages industry. Excellent first novel by whoever Peter Stafford-Bow is in real life. As its subtitle intimates this book is nearly an exposé; and as outrageous as main character Felix Hart's memoir-as-police-interrogation-confessional is, his story is both gripping and hilariously informative.”

Emi Bevacqua (Reviewer)

“Do not read this book on public transit!! Why? Because when you laugh out loud you will get very strange looks. I enjoyed this book immensely - even if you don't like or appreciate wine you will enjoy this rollicking read.”

Janet’s Book Corner

“Felix Hart is a riot. I absolutely loved this book.”

Cherie Homan (Reviewer)

“Over-the-top funny.”

Carol Bracho (Reviewer)

“I am so looking forward to the next book in this series of mishaps. For a great laugh, this book is it.”

Marie Angel (Reviewer)

“A book that made me laugh out. The main characters and the situations are irresistible and it's hard to put this book down. Highly recommended!”

Anna Maria Giacomasso (Reviewer)

“As much as Felix was actually a terrible person, I enjoyed his character so much I wanted him to get away with everything he got himself involved in! He seemed to genuinely believe that nothing he ever did was wrong or really his fault. I highly recommend this book as a light-hearted read filled with fun, craziness and lots and lots of alcohol.”

Finishing Touches

Peter Stafford-Bow Buy