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27 Best Wine Books of All Time: The Ultimate Reading List

An open book with a bottle of red wine, some grapes and some bread.
Reading and drinking wine: the perfect pairing. Image by นิธิ วีระสันติ from Pixabay.

Books about wine are a great way for people to expand their knowledge. Whether you are a beginner who is looking to learn more about wine, how to drink wine, or if you are looking to buy a gift for someone who is an existing fan of wine, there are a plethora of options for you to choose from.

For ease, we have divided into categories the types of books about wine that you may be looking for.

Books about Wine for Beginners

When choosing a wine book to get you started in the world of wine there are many facets to explore. Whether you prefer a classic time-tested novel or something a little more modern, there are plenty of options for you to choose between.

The Wine Bible – Karen MacNeil

This is a great starter book for those who want to kick start their wine knowledge. With 900 pages chock full of wine, wine, and more wine. You can enjoy finding all things wine broken down into geographical locations and beginner instructions about everything important, from how to pair food and wine to how wine is made- and everything in between. It’s the perfect feast of information for beginners in the world of wine.

Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier – Aldo Sohm & Christine Muhlke

This book is more than an atlas of beginner wine tips- it is an artistic feat, featuring beautiful illustrations and diagrams to help you really make the most out of your wine. If you find the world of wine, with all its talk of vineyards, varieties, and terroirs confusing and overwhelming then this book will help you to get a handle on the basics. It’s engaging and informative without being overwhelming.

Wine for Normal People: A Guide for Real People Who Like Wine, but Not the Snobbery That Goes with It – Elizabeth Schnider

This is a down-to-earth overview of all things wine for normal people who just like wine. With a fun and engaging writing style, Elizabeth Schnider does an excellent job at helping beginner wine lovers to understand vocabulary, pairing, and how to choose and buy a bottle of great wine. It brings a relatable edge to a notoriously unrelatable industry.

Books on Wine Tasting

Whether you are a novice wine drinker or fancy yourself a pro, a book on winetasting can never go amiss. There is a range of styles, from books for beginners to books for those who know almost everything there is to know.

How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine – Jancis Robinson

This is a great choice for those who are both beginners in wine tasting, and those who are looking to really push their limits, either with blind wine tastings or just what’s in their glass. Jancis Robinson is known in the wine world for her expertise, and here she breaks it down and makes it easy for anyone reading.

Wine: A Tasting Course: Every Class in a Glass – Marnie Old

Embark on a journey from grape to glass through the pages as you discover the art of tasting. It will guide you through the process of developing your palate, and lead you to understand and appreciate, breaking down the components of wine and why you may like some kinds and not others. This is the perfect book for beginner wine tasting.

Making Sense of Wine Tasting: Your Essential Guide to Enjoying Wine, Fifth Edition – Alan Young

Some of the worldwide authorities on wine have come together to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of all things wine tasting. It takes an explorative journey through how each sense is affected as we drink wine and provides you with tools to expand your existing wine-tasting knowledge.

Geographical Books for Wine Pro’s

This style of book will lead you through province after province and detail exactly the type of wine styles and nuances that you can expect from each region, and even each vineyard. These books will be of no use to a novice, but someone who loves their stuff will treasure any of these masterpieces.

The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe – Rajat Parr & Jordan Mackay

This is one of the first books that go in-depth into each European region of wine and how the nuances between each area can be expected to affect the wines that they produce. This book focuses not only on the terroir of the region but the winemakers and their preferred styles. A great choice for an aspiring sommelier.

The World Atlas of Wine – Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson

This book has been hailed as the single most important book about wine. It explores each region of wine growing across the globe and explains the nuances. This is a wine book that is for existing wine lovers who want to try and learn as much information as possible. There are 8 editions of this book, and each is better and more informative than the last.

Land and Wine: The French Terroir – Charles Frankel

This book explores the intimate complexities of French wine and how it differs across the regions. By taking a truly in-depth observation, you can hear from geologists and scientists alike on the exact region why French wine is known to be one of the best in the world.

Books about Wine Varietals

Literature created specifically to demystify the confusing and complicated world of wine varieties. A book about the varietals of wine will fit perfectly in any wine lover’s collection- and be endlessly helpful for their selections.

The Food Lovers Guide to Wine – by Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg

This is a great start for anyone who bases their love of either food or drinks on flavor. This book is essentially an A-Z of 250 types of wine, breaking down everything from pronunciation to body, flavor profiles, and even serving temperature. If you want to really impress your guests without having to have every wine varietal memorized, this is a great choice- for anyone regardless of their wine knowledge level.

It also gives extra tidbits of information in the sidebars, letting you know what some of the best sommeliers in the world have to say about certain wines, ideal food pairings, and even the preferred producers of said wine.

The Oxford Companion to Wine – Jancis Robinson & Julia Harding

This could be considered the bible for wine lovers everywhere. It’s the perfect gift for any wine lover. Originally published in 1994 there have been 4 new editions to this book and it is known to be the encyclopedia of all things wine-related.

In this book, you can find everything from urban wineries, cork knowledge, and of course, grape varieties, and wineries according to region. Here, you can find over 4,000 entries of expert wine knowledge on everything to do with the drink.

Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours – Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding & Jose Vouillamoz

Everything that a connoisseur will ever need to know about wine varietals is found in these pages. Beautiful illustrations and well over 1000 grape varieties await you, and even the family trees of certain grapes, helping you to really understand the origin of certain grapes and families. This book will give you an unparalleled look into wine varietals.

Books about Pairing Wine

Pairing wine could be one of the most confusing aspects of wine. The nuances between varietals of wine can make it a seemingly impossible science. However there is a science to it, and once you understand the formula, you will be able to pair by yourself. Below are a collection of books that will not only help you to understand this formula but also give you practical applications with recipes and their wine pair.

The Sommelier’s Cookbook: Recipes and Wine Pairings for Discerning Palates – Joanie Métivier

This book begins with an explanation about what makes good food and wine pairing and continues to describe in-depth different types of wine including common blends and how their properties can pair well with certain dishes and foods. You can then enjoy a variety of recipes to put your newfound skills to the test- from brunch to a spectacular main course.

Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World – Vanessa Price & Adam Laukhuf

Wine pairings for every palate, this book goes into the science as to why certain wines go with certain foods. A delightful mixture of beginner pairings and information that the experts can be looking for, this book makes wine pairing accessible in an entertaining and approachable way.

Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking [A Recipe Book] – Dana Frank & Andrea Slonecker

Explore 75 of the world’s most popular wines and a recipe to match with each of them. This book is the perfect choice for those who love to be experimental in the kitchen, home cooks, and wine lovers looking to expand their foodie knowledge. This book provides a very digestible way of looking at wine and food pairing.

Biographies of Famous People Involved in Winemaking

With such a long and complex history, and with so many notable names and faces biographies and autobiographies are certain to happen. Whether they are a modern take on current sommelier society or a look at a someone who helped to shape where the wine industry is today.

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It (P.S.) – Tilar J Mazzeo

This book is a New York Times Best Seller and is the fascinating biography of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, the woman who despite being a young widow built a Champagne empire that is still as prevalent today as it ever was.

The book is written in a knowledgeable but accessible way and is the perfect book for anyone who is a fan of Champagne.

Wine Girl: The Trials and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier – Victoria James

Aged just 21, Victoria James became the world’s youngest sommelier- a feat that was not met with open arms. Her passion and dedication drove her through the cut-throat world of restaurateurs to succeed at a very young age. She details her struggles throughout this book in an approachable, inspiring manner.

Tasting Victory: The Life and Wines of the World’s Favourite Sommelier – Gerard Basset

Gerard Basset is the first (and so far only) person to hold the Master of Wine qualification alongside Master Sommelier and an MBA in Wine Business. He was also crowned ‘Best Sommelier in the World’ at just 33 years old. You can discover all of his hardship and struggles on his way to the top in this book.

Travelogues about Visiting Wine Country

Since wine is spread so broadly across the world, a traveling wine lover makes perfect sense. If you’re sick and tired of being at home, lose yourself in these pages as they take you through some of the most famous provinces in the world.

Adventures on the Wine Route – Kermit Lynch

This is a down-to-earth and easy reading book for those who like a glass of wine, but are lost as soon as people begin to discuss the notes, the aromas, or the terroir. It follows the author, Kermit Lynch, as he explores the vineyards of France with a sense of humor and joviality. Better for existing wine lovers but fit for everyone, Lynch’s adventures have something for all.

A Wine Journey along the Russian River – Steve Heimoff

Embark on this journey through California’s wine region and discover the natural history of some of the most popular wines in the world. Follow the river through this journey from the sunny banks to the foggy edges of the vines.

The Wandering Vine: Wine, the Romans and Me – Nina Caplan

Follow Nina Caplan as she travels through France and Italy, meeting plenty of strange characters and exploring the lives of the people that she meets along the way. This is more than just a travel book, but an insight into the personal philosophy of the author.

Novels about Wine

Wine has thousands of stories to tell, only a fraction of which have ever been told. Below is a small handful of the greatest novels about wine that have been shared.

The Billionaire’s Vinegar

This book tells the fascinatingly true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine and its journey through the ages. Supposedly owned at one point by Thomas Jefferson, this (could be true) story takes you on a mysterious adventure through the wine’s dark history, visiting collectors, con artists, nazis, and wine lovers.

This is a truly excellent gift for anyone who loves wine and history, or just one of the two. Follow the path of a bottle of wine through history and see how it ends up being sold for $156,000.

Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine – Maximillian Potter

This book catalogs the true story of Aubert de Villaine, and the deliberate poisoning of his wines, which were some of the most luxurious wines in the world. The book follows the journalist following the case that shocked the French wine regions, and the sting operation that was set up in order to catch the perpetrator.

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure

When Germany took over France in the second world war, their soldiers immediately began to pillage the wineries- to be met by winemakers who had formed a resistance and execute extraordinary measures to protect an integral part of French culture. This is their untold story.

Gifts for Wine Lovers

Wine lovers can be hard to buy for. How do you get something for someone that they know much more about than you? Or even if you are a fellow wine lover, sometimes it’s nice to break the expected mold while still getting them something they will love. These are the perfect choices.

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide – Madeline Puckette

Whatever their level of wine knowledge, Wine Folly: Magnum Edition is an easily digestible way for your loved one to take what they know to the next level, and it’s the perfect addition to any Wine Folly fan’s bookshelf- if you decide to keep it there and not right next to your wine rack!

Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California – Frances Dinkelspiel

This is the true story about how one man’s con, embezzlement, and arson almost destroyed $250million worth of wine, along with countless bottles of priceless wines. This book explores the violence and greed that can plague the wine industry. This is a historic book that reads like a novel, making it a great choice for a wine lover.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste – Bianca Bosker

A fun and witty dive into the deep ocean of wine, exploring the history, science, and unique perspectives into taste and enjoyment. This book follows the journey of the author as she strives to become a sommelier.

Final Notes

There is a book about wine for every person who has a slight interest in the drink, it’s just about finding the right one (or two) for you. Simply choose a subject that you would like to learn more about, and from there you can begin to explore and experiment with the kind of books that you know you would like to read.

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