Updated: Must-Read Books for Wine Lovers

Updated April 23, 2020

People often ask me how I turned my love of wine from a simple pleasure to a full-blown hobby. The answer is actually very simple: reading. I'll admit that reading has never been one of my favorite pastimes, but as I became more interested in wine, I started going into Barnes & Noble (weird for me) and checking out the "Food & Wine" section. There I found tons of informative books written by wine experts that I have grown to respect.

Exploring wine books eventually led me to WSET and then to this! If you're interested in "getting into wine," you've already taken the first step by reading this wine blog. Your next step is to pick up some literature (and continue reading this, of course). Check out my favorites below!

My Favorite Wine Books

Best for Visual Learners
Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine
by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
In addition to being my favorite website ever, Wine Folly is also an awesome, eye-catching book. Packed with Madeline's Puckette's famous infographics, I recommend this book for beginners looking for a visually appealing introduction to wine.

Best for Building a Strong Foundation
Windows on the World Complete Wine Course
by Kevin Zraly
Kevin Zraly's book is both comprehensive and approachable. If you want to build a foundation for an education or somm track, start with this book. You'll learn the basics of every type of wine you'll need to know. Also helpful for anyone looking to better navigate wine lists.

Best for Intermediate Aficionados
The Wine Bible
by Karen MacNeil
I absolutely revere Karen MacNeil but this 1,000 page tome is for the truly dedicated. It took her 10 years to write, which is evidenced by the astounding level of detail that she gives to each wine region. Highly recommended for those seeking an advanced level of knowledge.

Best for History Buffs
Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
by Don and Petie Kladstrup
If you're interested in the role that wine has played in history, pick up this book about its place in World War II. As they explain in the documentary Somm, there's a reason you can't find many vintage bottles from the 30s/40s. (Not that we, regular folk, could afford them if they did exist!) Seriously, Nazis are the worst.

Best for Champagne Enthusiasts
The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It
by Tilar J. Mazzeo
One of my best decisions in 2017 was reading this book before my trip to Reims. Like a lot of industries, the world of wine is largely controlled by men. (The patriarchy is the second worst after the Nazis.) But that wasn't the case during the early days at Maison Clicquot where La Grand Dame ran the show. Read this if you're interested in learning how a woman helped make Champagne the greatest wine on Earth.

by Peter Liam
This thick, detailed book is for the true Champagne lover. Casual sparkling wine fans who still refer to Prosecco as Champagne, I'm sorry but you'll have to step aside! This book goes into tremendous detail on every aspect of Champagne, terroir and producers included. It also includes truly incredibly historic maps. If you want to gain a deep appreciation for this famous region, this one is for you.

Best for Natural Wine Lovers
The Dirty Guide to Wine: Following Flavor from Ground to Glass
by Alice Feiring
Check out my full review on The Vintner Project.

Best for Orange Wine Explorers
Amber Revolution: How the World Learned to Love Orange Wine
by Simon Woolf
Whether you're a devoted fan or complete newbie, Simon Woolf's book about orange, aka amber aka skin contact, wine is an absolute must-read. Informative, easy-to-understand, and thorough, Simon's book explores the history of orange wine and the regions that have long held this traditional form of winemaking. If you want to get into orange wine or deepen your knowledge further, read this!

Best for Off-Beat Sherry Aficionados
by Talia Baiocchi 
Listen, sherry isn't for everyone and it's better if we all just acknowledge that. But I truly believe that more people would like it if they simply tried it!! Talia Baiocchi's book helps to demystify sherry, the world's most misunderstood wine in my opinion. Before I ventured to sherry in December 2019, this is what I read to prepare. I highly recommend you read it, and visit Jerez, too!

If you'd like an in-depth review of any of these books, just let me know!

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