There are dozens upon dozens of wine books out there and while many read like an encyclopedia, others successfully whisk you away to the romantic, nerdy, tasty, and historic world of wine on what feels like a vacation, not a seminar. Once it’s all over and you return to real life, you’ll be surprised to realize you actually learned some things along the way, too. We’ve rounded up 7 of the best books for wine lovers out there, fit for every type of wine lover — from a beginner to a foodie to a self-identified oenophile — and while we’ve linked to all of these books on Amazon, we encourage you to call up your local book shop and order from them instead.
For the Foodie: Big Macs + Burgundy
Sommelier Vanessa Price breaks down the art of food pairing for normal people. So instead of focusing on foie gras and tartare and caviar and a slew of dishes you’ll never make in your own kitchen, this book will teach you which wines work best with your everyday staples and guiltiest pleasures, from Bagel Bites to avocado toast and even your go-to fast food or Trader Joes buys. Not recommended for anyone trying to stick to a diet.
For the Beginner: Wine Simple
Don’t let the fact that this book is written by a top Sommelier, Aldo Sohm, intimidate you. Sohm may have worked at the three Michelin-starred Le Bernardin in NYC for over a decade, but he still manages to discuss wine oh-so-casually for the purposes of this book, which is full of brightly-colored infographics and illustrations to break up the bits to digestible text. Learn all of the basics and more — about the key wine grapes, wine styles, and regions, how to taste wine, buy wine, pair wine with food, and even saber a bottle of Champagne.
For the Certified Wine Geek: Godforsaken Grapes
Like the kids in high school that always wore obscure band t-shirts, this book is for the wine geeks who seek out bottles from producers, grape varieties, and regions that most people (even the top wine industry pros) have never heard of. Author Jason Wilson takes readers on his colorful travels around the U.S. and Europe to France, Switzerland, and more, in search of near-extinct grape varieties that you may not even be able to pronounce and even more likely, have never tasted. Godforsaken Grapes is penned with quirky, yet accessible tasting notes and zero pretension about wine (thank God).
For the Romantic: Love by the Glass
This memoir is written by wine’s most beloved power couple, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Beecher, authors of The Wall Street Journal’s weekly “Tastings” column. Even if you’re not familiar with their work or their story, any wine lover can relate to this book. Both a love story and a wine story, Love by the Glass perfectly demonstrates how wine connects us all and enhances life’s most memorable moments, no matter how small. Cue the “Awwwwww.”
For the Francophile: Adventures on the Wine Route
Renowned wine expert and importer Kermit Lynch takes readers on an inspiring journey through France’s vast, diverse, historic, and totally complex wine country, from Bordeaux and Burgundy to the Loire, Provence, Southern Rhone, and beyond. More travel memoir than encyclopedia, this is the most entertaining way to get a literal lay of the land and the colorful people working within it. It’s sure to inspire a trip to France in your future, or at the very least, to your local wine shop.
For the Feminist: The Widow Clicquot
This biography, written by Tilar J. Mazzeo, dives into the fascinating life of one of the most iconic figures in Champagne: Madame Clicquot of the preeminent yellow label, Veuve Clicquot. After her husband’s death, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, then just 27, took over his wine business at a time when few women took leadership positions in the wine industry or otherwise. Today, she’s celebrated as an absolute legend who not only kept the brand afloat throughout seemingly insurmountable trials and tribulations but also built an empire and changed the Champagne industry forever. Pink hats are recommended, but not required while reading.
For the Fiction Lover: The Lost Vintage
This is a story about wine, but also love, history, war, and tragedy. The tale of a small family winery in Burgundy’s famous Côte d’Or is told via two perspectives (much like The Nightingale if you’ve read that one). It switches between the present day, narrated by Kate, a young sommelier who is studying for the Master Sommelier exam, and World War II, told through the diary of a mystery relative who lived there during the Nazu occupation. So while author Ann Mah’s page-turner is indeed a work of fiction, it still provides a very accurate portrayal of wine during wartime. You’ll end up learning quite a bit about one of the most renowned wine regions in the world and an extremely important period in wine history — all without having to open a textbook.