These nine reads will make you unimpeachably wine-savvy.

By Ray Isle
September 29, 2020
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Credit: Victor Protasio

Wine Simple

F&W Associate Restaurant Editor Oset Babür says: “So many beginner wine books feel patronizing or cutesy. Wine Simple reads like it really respects the beginner’s curiosity and baseline knowledge level.”

Wine Simple by Aldo Sohm and Christine Muhlke, $24 at amazon.com

Tasting The Past


An unusual wine that science reporter Kevin Begos finds in a hotel minibar in Amman, Jordan, leads him on a quest to unearth the origins of wine. This book weaves together history and science as Begos visits winemakers, archaeologists, grape geneticists, and more.

Tasting the Past by Kevin Begos, $15 at amazon.com

The World Atlas Of Wine

Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson’s masterwork lays out the geography of wine with comprehensive maps of every wine region, information on soil and climatic characteristics, and sharply written prose. This book is a must-have.

The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson And Jancis Robinson, $41 at amazon.com

Natural Wine For The People

Natural wine’s meteoric, controversial, and much-discussed rise is best explained by Alice Feiring, who artfully distills the basics of this noninterventionist movement in her short, eminently readable tome.

Natural Wine For the People by Alice Feiring, $14 at amazon.com

Cork Dork

Want to be a sommelier? The highs and lows of the pursuit are all in Bianca Bosker’s memoir. Even when being critical (read: serving wine at absurd $1,500-a-plate tasting dinners), Bosker never loses sight of her underlying love for wine.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker, $15 at amazon.com

The Wine Bible

It’s important to have a substantial book on hand to effectively look up everything to do with fermented grapes. Karen MacNeil’s opus fills that role. Whether you want to learn the basics or delve into obscurities, MacNeil’s readable and comprehensive book has what you need.

The Wine Bible by Karen Macneil
, $19 at amazon.com

The Science of Wine


Jamie Goode, holder of a PhD in plant biology and a wine columnist in England, takes dense wine topics and renders them layman-friendly. If you’re curious about sulfur in winemaking, what happens in your brain while you’re drinking wine, and more, this deep dive is for you.

The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode
, $24 at amazon.com

Wine: A Graphic History

French wine writer Benoist Simmat teams up with illustrator Daniel Casanave for a charming comic-art foray into wine’s history. From wine’s distant origins up to the current era, the book is surprisingly comprehensive and just a lot of fun.

Wine: A Graphic History By Benoist Simmat And Daniel Casanave, $19 at amazon.com


Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

Kevin Zraly has built a reputation as the best wine educator, period, and this book is a distillation of his expertise. The fact that it’s sold over 3 million copies over 35 years tells you a little something about its effectiveness.

Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly, $14 at amazon.com