35 books directly related to wine 📚

All 35 wine books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec

By Ian Mount,

Book cover of The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec

Why this book?

Today Argentina along with her malbec wines are held in high regard. It wasn’t always this way. This is a pacey rich journey through four centuries telling how ‘wine is not just a drink, it’s a story’. Full of characters, anecdotes, wine, business…Argentine style…like the hospital stay where a doctor’s recommendation is the best bottle of wine on the hospital’s café menu.

The Story of Wine: From Noah to Now

By Hugh Johnson,

Book cover of The Story of Wine: From Noah to Now

Why this book?

This bestselling book first came out long before my own global history of wine and it has gone through a number of editions as well as translations. It takes on the long history of wine ‘from Noah to Now’ in a readable, well-informed narrative – as we would expect of Hugh Johnson, who is one of the best-known English wine writers and authors. His richly illustrated book has global range and covers all the world’s wine-producing regions. It’s an excellent example of history written for a non-specialist readership and is probably the book that has done more than any other to bring history to the attention of wine lovers.

Vineyard Tales: Reflections on Wine

By Gerald Asher,

Book cover of Vineyard Tales: Reflections on Wine

Why this book?

Gerald Asher is a wine writer who is celebrated for his range, his knowledge, his ability to see below the surface of things, and his compelling writing style. This book of essays about wine is one of my favourites, ranging as it does from wines with food, in which he goes in unexpected directions, to whether or not and how to decant wines, to drinking wine in Greece surrounded by the gods, to wines from Portugal and California and Oregon and Italy and France. He takes me to places I’ve never been and to wines I’ve never drunk, all with no effort on my part. Along the way, I learn and I enjoy. What a pleasurable book!

Hugh Johnson's The Story of Wine

By Hugh Johnson,

Book cover of Hugh Johnson's The Story of Wine

Why this book?

Hugh Johnson is one of the most famous, and certainly the best-selling, of all the world’s wine writers. This book was first published in 1989 and has held the field ever since. It’s a glorious sweep of the history of wine from the beginning to about thirty years ago, with masses of illustrations, which is one of the glories of the book. A new edition was published in 2020, which brings it up to the present, but it lacks maps and illustrations. On the other hand, he hints at what he thinks about scoring wines by numbers: he’s not keen, preferring sniffing and tasting and then using stars to indicate the quality. What, after all, is the perceived difference between a 91 wine and a 92? And why start at 50?

The Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson (editor), Julia Harding (editor),

Book cover of The Oxford Companion to Wine

Why this book?

If I had to choose only one wine book to own and use, this would be it. It contains thousands of entries of varying lengths and complexity, all clearly written: do you want to know where the wines of Cadillac come from and what they taste like in fewer than a hundred words? Here it is. If you want to know how climate change is affecting vines and wines around the world, its three big pages will tell you. What is the wine called PX? Would you like to know all about California and its wines? France? China? What is biodynamic agriculture? Who are the most famous wine writers and what did they write about? Almost anything you might want to know about a wine-related subject is in this book. There is nothing else like it.

First Steps in Winemaking

By C. J. Berry,

Book cover of First Steps in Winemaking

Why this book?

Every marathoner needs hydration along the race. So it is with a long reading session. Some sessions call for a hot cup of coffee or tea. Some call for cocoa or a sparkling water or carbonated mix. Then there are times when a nice colorful glass of vino fit the occasion. I have always had an interest in chemistry and did quite well at it in school. This book was valuable to me as a newbie vintner. The author is English and he takes the reader through the process while giving tips and recipes and showing the equipment needed to produce your own unique beverage. The book is packed full of information about competitions and where to get supplies and which wines to make during the calendar year. It is an older book and references companies in England, but I would recommend it to anyone who might long to try their hand at winemaking. I still practice what I learned from reading this entertaining and informative book. Goditi il tuo vino!

French Wine: A History

By Rod Phillips,

Book cover of French Wine: A History

Why this book?

This is the best general survey of French wine in English, from someone who not only teaches the history of modern France at his local university, but who also reviews and writes about wine for his city’s newspaper. As both an academic historian and a journalist, Phillips has written a riveting account of how wine was first introduced to France under the Romans, how many of the vineyards later came under the control of the Catholic church in the Middle Ages, how the French state attempted to control and regulate the production of wine in the nineteenth-century, and how smaller wineries are now trying to cope with the global commercialization of the wine industry. Just a great primer on French wine.

Puligny-Montrachet : Journal of a Village in Burgundy

By Simon Loftus,

Book cover of Puligny-Montrachet : Journal of a Village in Burgundy

Why this book?

If terroir is about place, Loftus shows us one particular place in rural Burgundy, and especially the people living there who grow the grapes and make the wine. These vignerons help us understand that good wine is made in the vineyard, not through any manipulation after the harvest in a fermentation tank or oak barrel. Loftus also shows how wine influences local politics, as in 1879 when the village elders petitioned the French government to add the name of their most famous vineyard—Montrachet—to the name of their town, Puligny, thus allowing their Grand Cru vineyard name to appear on the label of humbler bottles bearing just the village name, following in the footsteps of Nuits-St. Georges, Chambolle-Musigny, Aloxe-Corton, and dozens of other Burgundian villages.

Judgment of Paris: Judgment of Paris

By George M. Taber,

Book cover of Judgment of Paris: Judgment of Paris

Why this book?

An inspiring story of how prejudice in the wine world was brought into focus which started a revolution in the way wines from around the world are viewed. It uncovers the people and places involved in shattering conventional wisdom and demonstrating that exceptional wines can be produced in many countries. So well told is this story, that it inspired the film Bottle Shock.

1855 Bordeaux

By Dewey Markham,

Book cover of 1855 Bordeaux

Why this book?

The 1855 Classification created quality tiers for wines from a number of districts in Bordeaux: the famous First Growth (Premier Cru) wines and their Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Growth counterparts. There’s been only one change since then (a Second Growth promoted to First) and people still pay high prices for these wines based on a ranking that is more than 150 years old. Dewey Markham’s book tells the story of the Classification and shows that the wines that topped the list in 1855 were also ranked highest in earlier lists and that the rankings were based on price rather than intrinsic quality. It’s a well-documented book that brings history to bear on the way we look at some of the most prestigious wines of Bordeaux.  

Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally

By Isabelle Legeron,

Book cover of Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally

Why this book?

If you like wine, you need to read this book. Winemaking goes back at least 8,000 years, but only in recent times has so much of its production been determined by the application of science, and the taste of the wines we drink dictated by wine critics, appellation tasting committees, and global markets. This book celebrates the innovators who are trying to make wines that are more natural, fuller in character, and more exciting. Their approach also has potential benefits for human health and our environment, and reading this book has sent me off on wonderful journeys through the south of France trying to find such oddities as orange wine (no, orange wine is not made from oranges!)

Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally

By Alice Feiring,

Book cover of Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally

Why this book?

Wine writer, and now friend, Alice Feiring has often been controversial, but she has always been a champion of the kinds of wines I love, natural wines that are allowed to tell the story of where they are grown and the people who steward them. Her book Naked Wine came out in 2011, just a year after my first very small vintage of natural wines. In her own tale of making wine in Oregon and her journey tracing the roots of modern natural wine in France, Spain, and America rang so clearly for me from her stories of a wine made in a fixer-upper farmhouse in France replete with scorpions to a vineyard cum garden of Eden scented with mint and thyme in Spain, I realized I not only loved wines that told stories, but writers who tell the stories of wine and place.

This book, an icon of its time, inspired my own writing about my journey in wine, food, and place, encouraging me to capture the stories of my own fixer-upper farm, the planting of my vineyard, orchard, and gardens scented with roses and sweet clover as a way to have a meaningful and thoughtful conversation with my own landscape in both my wine and my writing.

South of Somewhere: Wine, Food, and the Soul of Italy

By Robert V. Camuto,

Book cover of South of Somewhere: Wine, Food, and the Soul of Italy

Why this book?

I have long loved Robert Camuto’s writing about living in Italy and the wines and winemakers he’s discovered. My own food and wine awakening happened while living and working in Italy, so naturally I gravitate to books that take place there or tell the stories of others who’ve chosen to live there against all odds. Robert Camuto’s newest book South of Somewhere has quickly risen to my list of favorites. In this evocation, he traces his own history back to the town of his ancestors, and the relationship that evolves from a life-defining memory of a childhood summer in this village to his exploration and understanding of it as an adult. His work captures the essence of Italy, Italian life, and Italian wine: “the chaos that gives birth to inspiration”.

From chapters on the nostalgia of that Southern Italian childhood summer to a series of portraits of winegrowers from Italy’s south, who they are, and how they live deeply in their magical and sensuous world, Camuto also captures the essence of dark and light in this endlessly fascinating culture.

Pioneer Species

By Ross Thurber,

Book cover of Pioneer Species

Why this book?

Pioneer Species is a book of poems by friend and farmer-poet Ross Thurber. A small vineyard I work with in southern Vermont, my own agricultural essay and investigation on a sense of place different than my own, is part of Ross’s Lilac Ridge Farm. Like Mary Oliver, Ross is intensely bound to the natural and cultivated world of his farm in which he lives and his poems capture a language that brings forward the light, the shadow, the fog, the till, the butterfly, the flower, the cow. I am constantly inspired by his poems to be out in my own fields and to contemplate and communicate my own place in them. A delicious collection about a deeply personal and lyrical view of farm life.

Essential Winetasting: The Complete Practical Winetasting Course

By Michael Schuster,

Book cover of Essential Winetasting: The Complete Practical Winetasting Course

Why this book?

I began my education in wine in small classes run by Michael Schuster; this book is the next best thing. The title makes it sound a bit tedious, but it’s not. Inside is the key – ‘Taste with your head, and drink with your heart.' It is a bit depressing to hear someone say that ‘I don’t know about wine, but I know what I like’ – it sounds as though the speaker is embracing ignorance. Rather, it should be ‘this is a wine that I like and this is why.’ Besides, what could be more fun than learning about wine: it’s both intellectually interesting and tastes so good! Using this book, you can do it alone or – even more fun - with friends. 

That Night in Paris

By Sandy Barker,

Book cover of That Night in Paris

Why this book?

That Night in Paris is the second book in Sandy Barker’s Holiday Romance Series, which is packed with beautifully described holiday destinations and the will-they-won’t-they moments we romance readers love. In That Night in Paris, Cat books an impromptu European coach trip in desperation after she has a few too many wines and sleeps with her flatmate. And what a decision that turns out to be when she bumps into her long-lost teenage crush in Paris.     

Cat’s on my dinner guest list because she’s feisty, fun, and oozes sass, while at the same time having a more vulnerable side that would get the deeper conversations going by dessert. Sometimes strong women who are confident and outspoken (in a good way) can be criticised and labelled negatively, but women like Cat should be applauded for being real. 

Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War

By Laura Anne Gilman,

Book cover of Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War

Why this book?

Wine and magic. Need I say more? No, but I shall anyway: I love wine, complex and delicious and delightful; and I love magic, mysterious and powerful. Laura Anne combines these elements to great effect in her Vineart War series, where spells are crafted from wines—the only source of magic in the world. It was hard to read this without wanting a glass of pinot noir by my side!

Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France

By Caro Feely,

Book cover of Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France

Why this book?

Enjoying wine is second nature here in France. But what does it take to produce a perfect vintage? This no-frills memoir gave me the answers. 

An Irish couple moves to the Dordogne. Realising their dream, they buy a vineyard in financial trouble only to find that they have taken on more than they realised. And it’s tough on them all. Caro takes the reader on a detailed journey, describing the challenges of renovating their dilapidated farmhouse whilst learning to become wine-makers. 

I was fascinated by the gritty realities and hard work needed to make their vineyard a going concern. I was also hugely impressed. I suspect that many others in a similar situation would have given up. Amazingly, they continue whilst bringing up their young daughters and integrating into their local community. I was engrossed throughout.

Public Drinking and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Paris

By Thomas Edward Brennan,

Book cover of Public Drinking and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Paris

Why this book?

Taverns and public houses have long been accused by the pious and elite guardians of public welfare as being primarily dens of iniquity where the poor could get inebriated, misbehave, and escape their misery in drunken disorder. Brennan shows very clearly that despite the obvious problem of drunkenness for some, for the majority drinking a glass or two of wine together with friends and neighbors was really about sharing, belonging, sociability, and above all, a place for social exchange. Wine can be a lubricant, to be sure, but it is also an astringent that binds us together.

Wine Drinking Culture in France: A National Myth or a Modern Passion?

By Marion Demossier,

Book cover of Wine Drinking Culture in France: A National Myth or a Modern Passion?

Why this book?

At some basic level, the drinking culture in eighteenth-century taverns has survived in Parisian wine bars and cafés today. Yet, as a social anthropologist, Demossier shows us that wine-drinking culture has changed into something different today. Since 1980 the number of French people who drank wine every day has plummeted from over 50 percent to barely 20 percent. Yet at the same time, wine has taken on a larger cultural role in French identity as a nation even for those who drink wine less regularly. All the TV programs, books, wine blogs, wine tourism, and consumers flocking to wineries for a degustation at the source demonstrate that drinking wine is now as much a part of what it means to be French as speaking French.

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

By Don Kladstrup, Petie Kladstrup,

Book cover of Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure

Why this book?

You don’t need to know about wine or WWII to enjoy the story of how French wine was ingeniously protected from pillaging Germans during the Occupation. It reads like a war movie, about wine. Some anecdotes with a touch of James Bond about them, with others more Allo Allo. Sadly, the heroism involved continues to this day, but now with Lebanese wine producers. Indeed, there is another more recent book covering this very topic too.

Burgundy: The Global Story of Terroir

By Marion Demossier,

Book cover of Burgundy: The Global Story of Terroir

Why this book?

Terroir is the notion that the environment that grapevines grow in is imprinted on the wine they produce. It was universally accepted for several decades but is now hotly debated, as scientists have debunked the idea that certain soils and rocks transfer flavour and texture to wine. In the 1920s Burgundy became the first region to embrace the idea of terroir and in her book, Marion Demossier examines the circumstances that gave rise to it and the way that terroir was adopted and adapted by wine regions throughout the world so that wine producers could claim that their wines expressed ‘a sense of place’. This excellent book cuts through much of the marketing nonsense about wine.

Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours

By Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, Jose Vouillamoz

Book cover of Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours

Why this book?

This enormous volume is not for the faint of heart – or for the thin of wallet – but it is the most comprehensive account available of the many hundreds of different grape varieties that are made into wine. It is the varietal that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristics of each wine and that helps make each bottle you open distinctive, and Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vuillamoz profile nearly 1,400 grape varieties providing descriptions and thumbnail histories and the latest DNA-based conclusions on how they are all related. If this book does not start you thirsting to open a Graševina, a Nosiola, or a Tribidrag at the earliest opportunity, nothing will!

Tempt Me, Taste Me, Touch Me

By Bella Andre,

Book cover of Tempt Me, Taste Me, Touch Me

Why this book?

Rose is dumped by her boyfriend for a thinner woman, throwing her into a body image crisis. But a chef (a chef! How perfect! Or horrific?) makes her appreciate herself just the way she is.

Very, very sexy. It was the first Bella Andre I read (waaaaay back when) and I’ve been a fan since. Much like Too Much Temptation, the fully-realized love scenes with a plus-size heroine (at least, in her mind) are romantic, arousing and so, so satisfying.

These Tangled Vines

By Julianne MacLean,

Book cover of These Tangled Vines

Why this book?

"I love everything—the food and the wine and the olive groves and the grapevines..." That line from the book was the feeling that enveloped me as I read this story. There is warmth and tenderness, comfort and satisfaction, a place where people work hard and reap the rewards of their efforts.

The universal search for love is prominent in These Tangled Vines. Love of husband and wife, married lovers, mother and daughter, father and daughter, sibling to sibling. Everyone wants love. But how many of us find the perfect match?

I loved exploring the lushness of Tuscany and the delicious food, wine, and passion. Reading this story made me want to be there once again.

Life and Food in the Dordogne

By James Bentley,

Book cover of Life and Food in the Dordogne

Why this book?

James Bentley, a former Anglican priest, wrote this a generation ago but it remains a classic, with excellent recipes, by a man who really knew his stuff. I always keep it on hand.

The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement

By Lindsey Tramuta,

Book cover of The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement

Why this book?

The description above segues nicely into The New Paris by Lindsey Traumata, published in 2017. Traumata now has a second book published, and hosts a podcast, and is popular on social media. I have spent at least a month (and sometimes three) in Paris annually over the past six years and think of Traumata’s first book as a good friend. She writes wonderful profiles of people, and she keeps readers updated about bistros, winemakers, new cuisine. Her writing is elegant, and I read her descriptions as avidly as I do a novel, constantly making notes. So different from the usual guidebooks.

Trading Up: Why Consumers Want New Luxury Goods--And How Companies Create Them

By Michael J. Silverstein, Neil Fiske, John Butman

Book cover of Trading Up: Why Consumers Want New Luxury Goods--And How Companies Create Them

Why this book?

Every time you buy something, aren’t you wondering if you should have bought something else? These authors show how companies make use of our endless waffling about coulda-shoulda-woulda, and focus on all of those categories that you might have overlooked as being part of the status quest, like dog food and appliances, as well as the things that you know the corporate world is doing an upsell on, like sporting equipment and wine. Along the way, you begin to realize that absolutely everything you ever buy, give, or receive is carrying a message about your actual identity -- or the identity that you’re hoping for.

Nature's Chaos

By James Gleick, Eliot Porter,

Book cover of Nature's Chaos

Why this book?

I admire James Gleick’s Chaos. Who doesn’t? It’s a landmark book, a masterpiece of science writing. But let’s be real: it’s not exactly a beach read, is it? If Chaos is a complex aged wine, then this book is a simple autumn cider: a photographic collage of nature’s fractals, sweetened with a splash of Gleick’s lyrical prose.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

By Tom Standage,

Book cover of A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Why this book?

I’d already read The Victorian Internet by Standage by the time A History of the World in Six Glasses was released, so I had a feeling I would like it before I even cracked it open. Most of my favorite history books are similar to these two—written by a generalist, who has a keen ability to tell a big story and clearly articulate insight into when, how, and why humans changed the way they lived in the past. In this book, he divides up the history of the world according to what people drank and tells us what it means about that era. Great read.   

A Good Year

By Peter Mayle,

Book cover of A Good Year

Why this book?

This story, primarily set in France, is about a guy who loses his job in Great Britain and inherits his uncle’s vineyard in Provence. There are quirky scenes in this book that make you laugh out loud, and scenes that tug at your heartstrings. Years ago, I spent a little time in France and remember looking longingly at French wine country—from the windows of a train, and wishing I could hop off and visit some of those beautiful places. Isn’t that why we love books? We can travel vicariously! 

In the Vine Country

By Edith Somerville, Martin Ross,

Book cover of In the Vine Country

Why this book?

This is fiction masquerading as non-fiction. Published in 1893 but now re-published – do try to get a copy with the original illustrations – the story is about two upper-class female cousins from Ireland who receive a letter commanding them to go to Bordeaux to tour the vineyards. They know nothing about wine, except that a glass and a half of Château Lafite caused one of the cousins to snore quietly over her dessert. Nor do they know about Bordeaux or how to use the Kodak camera they were given to take photographs. Nevertheless, off they go, two intrepid young women braving the French hotel-keepers, the carts, the country people, and the owners. It is witty, historic now, and fun to read.

The List of Last Chances

By Christina Myers,

Book cover of The List of Last Chances

Why this book?

A road trip provides a reliable narrative structure. But what makes each journey distinct is what the travellers see, do and learn along the way. This charming, funny book follows Ruthie, a recently single, down-on-her-luck 38-year-old as she accompanies Kay (70s) across Canada from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver, where Kay’s son wishes her to relocate. Kay doesn’t want to move, but if she is going to Vancouver, she has a list of ‘last chances’ for her and Ruthie to experience along the way. And thus an improbable friendship begins. Told from Ruthie’s perspective, this book reminded me of how much there is to discover on a road trip—the places we see, the people we meet along the way, and the person the journey inspires us to become. 

Land and Wine: The French Terroir

By Charles Frankel,

Book cover of Land and Wine: The French Terroir

Why this book?

The most misunderstood word in any discussion about French wine, terroir is not only the French word for soil, but it refers to place, the specific place where grapes are grown to make wine. Thus, terroir does mean the soil in the vineyard, but also the ground beneath the soil, climate, weather, indeed, everything at any particular place that affects the grapes grown in that specific place. This book written by a geologist is no boring technical and scientific study of taste, but a clear and convincing explanation of why wines grown in different places, and wines even grown in the same place but in different harvest years, taste so differently. Frankel demystifies the notion of terroir, and at the same time, he helps us understand why we should want to preserve and protect these different tastes from the homogenization of the global wine market.

When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity

By Kolleen M. Guy,

Book cover of When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity

Why this book?

This prize-winning book is an impeccably researched and very readable history of champagne, the only wine that’s a household name. Kolleen Guy traces the way champagne, even though a latecomer after the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, became more closely identified with France and Frenchness. Focusing on the period from the early 1800s to the early 1900s, Guy traces the way champagne houses carefully constructed an image of champagne that complemented the nation-building process that was underway at the same time. It’s a fine demonstration of the way that wine is often connected to broad political and cultural currents.