Best wine books

Jacqueline Zonkowski
Lifestyle grey Dot

A book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other — few things make for a more relaxing time than that. So we’ve rounded up some of the best wine books to learn from, laugh with, and help you enjoy that wonderful elixir even more.

Wine Folly

The Master Guide

There may be no better book for your wine education collection than Wine Folly by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack. Wine Folly is great for novices and experienced veterans alike. It takes you on a journey through the basics of reading wine labels, selecting the proper glasses, and the essential elements of wine. Then Wine Folly takes you on a detailed tasting journey, from explaining sweetness levels, tannins, acidity, and alcohol levels and then delves into the slightly more complex tasting elements of color, smell, taste. That is just the beginning! Dive deeper into varietals, regions, pairings; you name it. It’s one of the most comprehensive and approachable guides to wine available today, and we think one of the best wine books written for education. 

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 was a tech reporter who became fascinated with wine and the enormous industry behind it. So, as many reporters do, she thought, what’s the best way to understand and learn about a topic? Live it and immerse yourself in it, which is what Bosker did. She decided to begin her sommelier education at the Court of Master Sommeliers. She joined wine tasting groups with some of the best up-and-coming sommeliers, including some who would receive the distinction of Master Sommelier. Through her experiences, Cork Dork gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how many people are willing to dedicate their lives to their love affair with wine. Bosker takes a serious topic, especially for those who have devoted their lives and money to reach the top of their profession, making it approachable and often comical.

The Hills of Chianti

The Story of a Tuscan Winemaking Family, in Seven Bottles

Piero Antinori shares his family story of winemakers who produce some of the best wine in the world, and do so in the breathtaking hills of Tuscany, just outside of Florence, in Chianti. That would be enough to grab most wine lovers’ attention. Great wine, beautiful views, and some family drama add some spice; what’s not to like? However, this particular family has been making wine for over 600 years and can trace their ancestry and wine production to the Medieval Ages of 1385. The Hills of Chianti doesn’t just tell the history of Italian wine and its impact on the world. It gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the multi-generational dynamic and pressure of continually having your product live up to a very high standard and some of the risks, mistakes, and accidents that happen along the way.

The Widow Clicquot

The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

It simply wouldn’t be right to include an Italian wine book without one from Italy’s gastronomic and wine nemesis, France. Keeping this rivalry contentious is crucial because it has given the world some of the best food and wine ever made. However, there is no need to pontificate about the remarkable life and empire created by Barbe-Nicole Cliquot Ponsardin. An early widow, Barbe-Nicole was not bothered by post-Napoleonic France to conduct business as married or single women would have been in that age. She was “allowed to be” a self-reliant businesswoman, which suited her very well. After her husband’s death, Barbe-Nicole took her winemaking knowledge, which she learned from him. Through audacity and life-risking endeavors, she took a struggling wine production and turned it into one of the most recognizable Champagne labels in history.

Big Mac’s and Burgundy

Wine Pairings for the Real World

In a world where I constantly tell people how wine needs to be made ‘more approachable’ to novice wine drinkers, Vanessa Price beat me to it and wrote one of the best wine books! I can’t even be mad; she’s my spirit animal. Big Macs and Burgundy explains how and why behind pairing wine and food. Not only that, it does in a way that makes you realize just how simple it is to pair wines with foods that we eat every day. Do I enjoy seared foie gras with black cherry compote on grilled brioche? Of course, I do; it’s amazing! But how often do most people, myself included, eat that and have to worry about pairing wine with it? Almost never. Now, pairing wines with pizza, Chinese food, or a burrito are things we can all apply to everyday life.

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About Jacqueline Zonkowski

As an avid traveler, Jacqueline started finding herself in popular wine regions around the world, fueling her passion for food and wine. When she isn't traveling you will find her at home with a glass of wine in hand and a smile on her face while tasting new recipes with her Chef husband. She received her WSET Level II Certification with Distinction, Argentina Wine Specialist, and Oregon Wine Expert certifications. Jacqueline has worked in the wine marketing and hospitality industry for many years. She continues to increase her wine knowledge and looks forward to creating her own wine one day.