Wine is all about knowledge. If you are drawn toward the world of wine, then there are two things you will need: a good book and a corkscrew. The more you know, the more you will appreciate every new bottle.
With a bit of work, you’ll be able to prattle on like a sommelier. Maybe even hold your own on a discussion about terroir. Or get in into a winemaker’s head and follow her into every step of the winemaking process. From grape to bottle, wine is a fantastic journey to undertake.
I won’t lie, conquering the vast knowledge behind all wine styles and regions is a major challenge. It’s all about taking your time. Books won’t get you there alone
You get better with every wine tasting class and every wine country visit, one sip at a time. Hitting the books, though, is what separates sommeliers from the wine tourists. Each paragraph, picture, and map are as enjoyable as a sip of your favorite wine and bring you closer to your goal.
Here are some of the best wine books to look for and read from start to finish. The pages are drenched in wine expertise.
Best Wine Book For Beginners
Even seasoned professionals and those in the trade enjoy the colorful diagrams and infographics in Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine.
Certified Sommelier and New York Times Bestseller Madeline Puckette is behind this fantastic project that has taken a solemn and in-depth approach to wine knowledge to the inexperienced through state-of-the-art design and smart layouts. The science of wine tasting, wine pairings, and every primary varietal and wine region is dissected to their core in 310 color pages, including 35 maps.
The new Magnum Edition: The Master Guide is a real treat to have around the house. And don’t think for a second the minimalistic layout and the attractive color palette makes this piece of literature less serious than the most renowned wine encyclopedias. With Wine Folly’s books, it is easy to learn while having a good time whether you’re just getting your toes dipped in the world of wine, or you have decades of floor experience as a Somm.
Best Italian Wine Books
Decoding Italian Wine: A Beginner’s Guide to Enjoying the Grapes, Regions, Practices, and Culture of the “Land of Wine” by Ryan Anthony McNally y Andrew Cullen is your go-to introduction for what Italian wine is all about.
Start with the Mediterranean country’s native varieties and move on to the most prominent appellations, only to sit back for the final chapters about food pairings and Italian wine movies. Educational but also tons of fun, this book takes you to remarkable depths without you even realizing it.
Matt Kramer’s Making Sense of Italian Wine: Discovering Italy’s Greatest Wines and Best Values, by the acclaimed contributor to Wine Spectator, is a real gem for honest reviews and detailed wine profiles for every central wine region from Piedmont to Sicily. Written with a unique “Shopper’s Guide” style, Kramer’s masterpiece makes it easy to understand each wine style’s value and rarity. It will also help you make better decisions when sourcing your Italian vino.
Best Online Wine Book
If you are looking for a more practical method of learning about wine, and one that offers a professional wine certificate at the end, then this offering may be for you. Fully online with dozens of videos and weeks of content, this is the type of gift for the aspiring sommelier. Level One Sommelier Certification from the National Wine School. Oh, and here’s a $250 coupon to cut the price in half: level1wsop.
Best Natural Wine Book
Natural wines are trending, but more so is the scientific approach towards our beloved fermented drink.
The book A Natural History of Wine, by Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle, an anthropologist, and a molecular biologist, takes you on an unexpected journey across everything about wine. From its millennial history to what happens in wine, from the ripening of the grapes to fermentation — all with a meticulous scientific approach and a casual, friendly tone.
This book has all the answers and will give you an understanding of wine beyond compare. From yeast to terroir, and even a chapter about wine’s effects in our bodies.
Best Food and Wine Pairing Books
Our personal favorite is the omnibus beverage and pairing cookbook Corked & Forked. Written by myself with help from the whole team here at the Wine School. Published in 2011, it still holds up. It hit the bestsellers list and then sold out. We still have a few signed copies of the 1st Edition.
It’s hard to find a complete book about food and wine pairings than Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food by Evan and Joyce Goldstein.
Evan Goldstein, a restaurant industry veteran, has seen it all, from classic French pairings to new world fusion cuisine and lesser-known wine styles from all corners of the earth.
The intuitive approach towards wine and food pairings, from the old and new world, along with many examples and wine recommendations, makes it easy to practice the dozens of examples in the book.
Once you devour the book above, read on to another masterpiece from the same author, Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs.
Dig deep into everyday wine pairings and combinations for the most memorable occasions, including wine pairings for the most celebrated restaurant dishes with commentaries from chefs of the category of Dan Barber and Charlie Trotter.
Best Wine Atlas
The one and only World Atlas of Wine, a collaboration between the legendary Hugh Johnson y Jancis Robinson is the only book you’ll need for detailed insight into every wine region on the planet, with the most precise and exquisite maps and brilliant commentaries.
We’re talking about 416 pages covering everything from winemaking to Western Europe’s most obscure wine regions. If you were to memorize this book, you’d have the knowledge of a true master; this is a must-have on every wine student’s bookshelf, and one of the essential wine reference books.
Best Wine Tasting Notebooks
Our personal favorite wine notebook is this bad boy. We designed it for our own sommelier-instructors and you can see it in action in pretty much every wine tasting class and sommelier course taught here: Wine School Wine Tasting Notebook.
Going back to Wine Folly’s insightful design and creative approach, Wine Folly’s wine journal is as practical and friendly as tasting notebooks get. It is our second favorite wine tasting notebook.
The 4.9” x 6.9” notebook with 160 pages and a tasteful red ribbon page marker will be your companion to every wine tasting and winery visit.
Each page is designed to assess wine with a professional 4-step tasting method, making it suitable for amateurs and serious wine students alike. The included wine color chart seals the deal for us.
Learn about Wine
Knowledge is priceless, and wine knowledge is also pleasurable! Build your wine library and move forward in your quest for wine mastery.
Which so many great wine books out there, this is just the peak of the iceberg. Let us know your favorite wine books and share them with the Wine School of Philadelphia’s community.