The best wine books for wine lovers!

One of the questions I always love to ask winemakers is how do they suggest people learn more about wine. The answer seems to be the same across the board – drink more wine. Not just any wine, but wine from around the world, different regions, different grape varietals – open your mind and open your palate to different grapes. I personally love that answer and couldn’t agree more, but most winemakers also mention a few wine books they have personally found helpful. After all, good old fashioned reading = good old fashioned learning.

With that said, I’ve rounded up some of the best wine books I’ve found, as well as those mentioned by winemakers in my Interview with a Winemaker series. I’ve tried to note if the books include an audio book option – at the time of this posting – as that seems to be one of the only ways I can “read” a book these days with all our travels and juggling the kids schedules.

I hope these wine books expand both your mind and palate. If you have other wine books you love, let me know in the comments. Cheers!

The Best Wine Books to Pour Into

Best Wine Books to Pour Into

Wine & War (audio book option)

I love this book! It’s a history lesson on WWII and wine… In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began pillaging the French wine regions. Wine and War tells the thrilling story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their crops and bottles (along with many who  undermined the Germans).

The book also helps to explain a lot about how the rules and regulations of French wine came to be and to some extent why they’re still in place today. (Love French Novels…check out 44 must reads!)

The Winemaker’s Wife (audio book option)

Looking for a page turner, this is it! The Winemakers Wife became an instant #1 bestseller from The Globe and Mail (Toronto) and The Toronto Star and for good reason. It’s an amazing story of love, betrayal, war and finding yourself all wrapped into one. The story follows three women, two of whom are married to winemakers during WWII in Champagne. The other, a newly divorced woman who journeys back to France in 2019 with her grandmother only to learn her involvement in the war efforts in Champagne. While this book doesn’t necessarily teach you how to sip and swirl, it does a great job sharing how wine has shaped lives and countries, especially those in France.

The Oxford Companion to Wine

This is not a book you just sit down to read. This could literally be considered THE ULTIMATE wine encyclopedia. Written by the highly esteemed, Jancis Robinson, the book has achieved worldwide acclaim and won every major wine book award including the Glenfiddich and Julia Child/IACP awards. In this in-depth book, Robinson provides an understanding of wine in all of its wider contexts–notably historical, cultural, and scientific. It serves as a true companionable point of reference into which any winelover can sip in.

Wine Bible

Like a lively course from an expert teacher, The Wine Bible grounds readers deeply in the fundamentals of wine regions, while layering on informative asides, tips, amusing anecdotes, definitions, glossaries, photos, maps, labels, and recommended bottles. Karen MacNeil’s information comes directly through primary research; she has tasted more than 10,000 wines and visited dozens of wine regions around the world. And through it all the reader becomes ever more informed—and, because of the author’s unique voice, always entertained.

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

Wine Folly offers an inventive, easy-to-digest approach to learning about wine. Now in a new, expanded hardcover edition, Wine Folly: Magnum Edition is a great resource for any budding oenophile who wants to boost his or her wine knowledge in a practical and fun way. The book includes excellent maps of popular wine regions, details on over 100 grape varietals and an excellent section on food and wine pairings. That’s just a little of what you’ll sip in the magnum edition. 

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty (audio book option)

Robert Mondavi was one the most prominent figures in shaping the Napa Valley wine region. But, Robert was just one person who helped create the fabled Napa Valley family who built one of the largest American wine dynasty’s. The book follows four generations of the Mondavi family through love, death, family betrayals and crazy business risks all for the love of wine. Named to The New York Times Best Sellers, Julia Flynn reports a complicated but wildly interesting narrative of the rise and fall of the Mondavi family – the book is based on thousands of hours of interviews she had with the family and insiders who knew them well. Who needs fiction when you have stories like this

The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know (audio book option)

Want to drink rose’ in the winter, go for it. Why not open that special bottle you’ve been holding on to on a Tuesday night? You can. In this book Jon Bonn shares today’s rules of sipping wine, the the first one being to forget what all the “experts” have told you. This book helps to uncork the world of wine into simple, easy sips.

Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France

Written by Kermit Lynch over 25 years ago, this wine book has become a classic and one any lover of wine should read. The book takes you on a journey through the French wine country to help you understand what wine really is. In 2007, The New York Times called it “one of the finest American books on wine.” And in June 2012, The Wall Street Journal proclaimed it “the best book on the wine business.” 

The World Atlas of Wine, 8th Edition

The first edition of this book written by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson – was released in 1971. It has since been updated seven more time to reflect the ever changing landscape of the wine regions throughout the world.  It is recognized by critics as the essential and most authoritative wine books available.

Cork Dork (audio book option)

Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. With boundless curiosity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine—and, perhaps, the way you live—forever. 

Wine for Normal People: A Guide for Real People Who Like Wine, but Not the Snobbery That Goes with It

I love the award winning podcast that Elizabeth Schneider hosts. Her Wine for Normal People book takes her podcast to a written form in this down-to-earth resource for anyone seeking an introduction to the world of wine. 

Wine. All the time. A casual guide to confident drinking. 

This book is just funny…and educational for more of you novice wine lover. I really enjoyed the humor the author, Marissa A. Ross brings to the art of understanding and drinking wine. It’s dubbed “The best guide to drinking wine without overthinking”, which is the perfect way to describe this book.

I’m always looking for a good read. So if you have other wine book recommendations, please let me know in the comments.

Elaine Schoch

Elaine N. Schoch

Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.