The 10 Best Wine Books You Must Read - Wine Turtle
This post was updated on: September 1, 2020

The 10 Best Wine Books You Must Read

best wine books

I know that most people nowadays tend to gather their information on the net that is full of websites and blogs exhaustively dealing with every aspect of the subject. So, it may sound anachronistic talking about wine books especially on a wine blog, but for those still in love with the sound of turning pages and the smell of printed paper I would like to give you a list of what I consider the 10 best wine books with a mix of suggestions for beginners, advanced and experts.

The Best Wine Books You Must Read

1. The Oxford Companion to Wine
2. Grapes and Wines
3. Wine Atlas
4. Wine Behind the Label
5. Swallow This, The Progressive Approach to Wine
6. Wine & War The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
7. How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine
8. The Taste of Wine: The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation
9. Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally
10. Understanding Wine Technology - The Science of Wine Explained

Some of them actually have a special place on my bedside table, others have to be always handy during the day and when I’m working, others have been extremely inspirational but all of them have been important in different ways in my personal path to wine knowledge, and I’m hoping they will be pleasant and educational for you as well.

1. The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson

The Oxford Companion to Wine

Jancis Robinson is the real 'Lady Wine' and one of the most influential wine critics all over the world. With her British pragmatism she created a tome of 840 pages (third and latest edition 2006). More than four thousand items related to wine: technical data, historical anecdotes, maps, list of varieties and all in an A-Z format. An immensely comprehensive source of detailed information, including a mega wine encyclopedia to keep on the bedside table for quick consultations before sleeping. Sweet dreams guaranteed.

Recommended to everyone, from beginners to experts. THE wine bible for ALL wine lovers.

2. Grapes and Wines by Oz Clarke and Margaret Rand

Oz Clarkes Grapes Wines

This book features a good description of more than 300 grape varieties listed in alphabetical order with extended info, extra pages and a selection of recommended products for the top international grape varieties (such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir etc.) If you want to find something slightly less technical but that can give you a wide overview on the major grape varieties, their taste and aromas and how differently they behave depending on country, climate and soil then this is the right choice.

Recommended to beginners and advanced, plus all those who would like to approach the wine world through an ampelographic perspective.

3. Wine Atlas by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson

The World Atlas of Wine

If this book has reached its 7th edition since 1971 there must be a reason. The Washington Post once wrote about it: "It is the best collaboration of two Brits from the time of Lennon and McCartney." No jokes, here two great wine personalities give the readers plenty of info about wine regions with plenty of maps, photos and texts that will make you travelling even while on the couch. In 1971, such a wine cartography was pure revolution.

Recommended for everyone. From beginners to experts and all those who would like to approach the wine world through a geographic perspective.

4. Wine Behind the Label: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Leading Wine Providers and Their Wine by David Moore

Wine Behind the Label

A must-have guide to the top wine producers and their wines from around the world and an indispensable book for all wine curious. Wines are categorized by continent and then broken down into countries and regions, complete with maps. Each winery is reviewed in depth with tasting notes for their major wines, background on the producer, a star rating and a price code.

Recommended for those who already have some knowledge about wine and want to study further specific producers.

5. Swallow This, The Progressive Approach to Wine by Mark Phillips

Swallow This

An irreverent and amusing book written by a passionate drinker that covers some practical aspects of our everyday life in respect to wine and answers to some of the…erhm…most frequent consumers’ questions such as… when it's appropriate to add ice cubes to wine; what wine is best while doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, etc. Some information and lots of fun!

Recommended for beginners and those curious about wine and have a good sense of humor! Please note that it's not recommended for wine snobs.

6. Wine & War The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure – for history and French wine lovers by Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup

Wine and War

The story of some French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles during the German occupation of France in WWII. This is not an educational book about wine and doesn’t have any info about wine production or grapes, but it is easy to read, and very engaging to anyone who enjoys wine, french culture, or wants to read an interesting take on WWII history.

Recommended for all wine lovers, from beginners to experts.

7. How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine by Jancis Robinson

How to Taste

Once again, Jancis. No one like her can explain wine to all levels of wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts. In this book she goes over the basics of tasting and identifying different grape varieties. A simple and informative approach and a very good section on grape profiles. A must for anyone who wants to understand better what’s in the glass.

Recommended for beginners.

8. The Taste of Wine: The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation by Emile Peynaud

The Art of Wine Appreciation

Intriguing and deeply informative, this is a `cult` book for all wine lovers written by one of the most famous oenologist in the world. A book written thinking of all those who are interested in the quality of wine and are pondering the mysteries of its taste and the meaning of the act of drinking. The book teaches both the amateur and the food and wine professional about wine and how to better appreciate it and it helps to educate the senses of taste and smell.

Recommended for everyone from beginners to experts that are interested in an empirical approach to wine. Note that I would also suggest opening a bottle of wine while reading this book, to fully enjoy and appreciate its contents.

9. Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally by Isabelle Legeron

Natural Wine

Clear and well documented, this book has an amazing quantity of information about this new phenomenon of the natural wines. The book describes to all non-specialists, the various stages of manufacture of a wine vinified naturally, starting from the vine and going across the cellar to end up into the glass on the counter.

Recommended for beginners to advanced and those who already have some basic info about wine and want to get introduced to the natural wine movement.

10. Understanding Wine Technology - The Science of Wine Explained by David Bird

Understanding Wine Technology

A technical and specific book written by a chemist and Master of Wine. Here you will find all you need to know about wine production with plenty of details and information but simply explained. A great read if you are getting into wine and want to explore wine making from a scientific point of view or if you are studying for a wine exam.

Recommended for wine geeks or anyone deeply interested in all aspects of winemaking.

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since he was a little kid. Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it and has been addicted ever since. Having traveled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa and tasted a large selection of their wines, it is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here and take you along on the journey.

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