For this post, I’m keeping it light and going over the top books that have helped to deepen my love for all things wine. Some are fun, some are educational, and all have offered up a unique insight into the diverse nature of this powerful libation!
The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil
If you saw my current dog-eared, wine-stained, post-it labeled copy of this book, you’d think I’ve had it for years. I bought this book when I decided to get serious about wine, and I refer to it more than any other. Karen MacNeil’s beautiful vocabulary, insights, and depth of knowledge have helped me become a better wine drinker and a better wine writer.
Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine by Jason Wilson
Wine writer Jason Wilson uses this book to poke fun at the sometimes snootiness of the wine critic universe. He does this by showcasing his love for the rare, obscure, nearly extinct wine varietals of the world. Of the nearly 1,400 known varieties, most wine drinkers have only tried upwards of 20!
This book was an easy read, and I’ve used it as the jump-off to deepening my knowledge of the lesser-known varietals. Some of the wines Jason describes have been relegated to as little as a hundred acres. Surprisingly, when I knew what I was looking for, I was able to secure quite a few of these gems at my local wine shop.
If you’ve been sippin’ on Zinfandel, I dare you to take a walk on the wild side with this book and a bottle of Zwiegelt. You won’t regret it!
Red, White & Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass by Natalie MacLean
A friend bought me this book at a used bookstore based solely on the title, and I was pleasantly surprised with it. Wine writer Natalie MacLean details the fascinating stories of her travels through France while also giving real-world tips for breaking into the world of wine. From how to saber a bottle of Champagne to useful party hosting tips, Natalie’s writing is thoughtful and wildly entertaining.
This autobiography of America’s youngest sommelier is raw, intense, and gives me almost Bourdain Kitchen Confidential vibes. Victoria details her journey from greasy spoon waitress to upper-echelon sommelier and every nitty-gritty sexist pig she had to deal with along the way. This is a great book if you ever worked in fine dining or if you love a good revenge tale.
Wine Folly: The Master Guide by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
I’ll be honest, it’s unlikely I would have made it this far into the wine multiverse if it wasn’t for Wine Folly. Sommelier Madeline Puckette does an excellent job of offering bite-sized information for wine novices. Between her Youtube channel, website, and this book, she takes all the snobbiness out of wine and makes it fun. This Master Guide gives you a concise overview of 100 grape varietals, with common descriptors, serving suggestions, and food pairings.
This is a go-to gift for my friends who are looking to scratch the surface of wine because it gives you actionable steps for how to broaden your palate. It also breaks down the winemaking process and makes for a great coffee table book.