Some would say there is no better pairing than books and wine. There are plenty of authoritative books that can help open up the world of wines in an intoxicating way. Here are some key resources to help develop your taste and knowledge, whether you are a beginning wine connoisseur or an expert sommelier.
The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson was first published in 1971 by Simon and Schuster in the US and Mitchell Beazley in the UK. It has sold 4 million copies in 14 languages. The focus of this book is wine geography and the authors delve into maps, and soil, region, and climate, in an in-depth analysis of terroir.
Published by Oxford University Press, this award-winning book is often recommended across the board. First published in 1994 to worldwide acclaim, it is called “The greatest wine book ever published” by the Washington Post. Now on its fourth edition, The Oxford Companion to Wine presents almost 4,000 entries from 187 esteemed contributors on every wine-related topic imaginable, from regions and grape varieties to the owners, connoisseurs, growers, and tasters in wine; from viticulture and oenology to the history of wine.
The Wine Bible by Karen McNeil was first published in 2000 by Workman Publishing in New York. McNeil is an award-winning wine expert, and the Wine Bible is the single best-selling wine book in the United States. Called entertaining and authoritative, it covers the fundamentals and includes many tips to store, serve and enjoy wine.
Wine Folly by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack is an infographic wine book based on a blog, first published in 2015. Puckette was a musician and designer who became a self-professed wine geek and later a certified sommelier. She started the ‘Wine Folly’ website in 2011 with two friends.
Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America’s Complete Guide to Wines of the World was first published in 1995. The 3rd edition was published in 2010 and is a hefty 800 pages. From the basics of wine production to the nuances of wine lists, along with information on wine marketing and wine service.
Now on its 6th edition, released in 2020, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia is a comprehensive book on the world of wine, from growing regions to history and culture for both novice drinkers and experts. The newest edition is illustrated with 400 images and 100 National Geographic maps.
In What to Drink with What you Eat, two sommeliers give you expert advice on what to drink with your food choices, from French Toast to Chinese food. These beverages may range from wine to water, this book provides the most comprehensive guide to matching food and drink ever compiled. It also includes practical advice from the best wine stewards and chefs in America and 70 full-color photos and some recipes. It is dense with information but easy to understand. The first edition was published by Bulfinch Press in 2006.
Although not specific to just wine, The Art of Eating is a classic work by M.F.K. Fisher, first published by The World Publishing Company in 1954. It collects for the first time Fisher’s five highly acclaimed gastronomical volumes. Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (July 3, 1908 – June 22, 1992) was an American food writer and a founder of the Napa Valley Wine Library.
Amy C. Manikowski is a writer living in Asheville, NC.