Photo: Jen Fariello Photography | Location: Waterperry Farm

To maximize your experience with wine, we’ve compiled a list of 15 books about everything from the Virginia wine industry and the history behind the grape to novels and guides on how to taste. Regardless of whether you are a wine enthusiast thirsting for more knowledge or a more casual fan of the grape, you will surely enjoy a book or two on this list that you’ll want to add it to your library (or cellar).

Wine from Grape to Glass

by Jens Priewe

Wine from Grape to Glass is an essential guidebook for wine lovers interested in how their favorite grapes are grown and how they are produced. The first half of the book discusses the winemaking process and topics like terroir, the grape harvest, fermentation and aging, as well as advice on serving, tasting and storing wine. The second half of the book examines the best wines of the world, country by country, and includes helpful illustrations and maps. Get a copy at the Wine & Country Shop.

Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine

by Benjamin Wallace

This New York Times Bestseller details the story of a bottle of 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux that was presumed to have been owned by Thomas Jefferson and that sold for $156,000 at an auction. Over the course of its 200+ years in existence, the bottle has undergone a truly unbelievable journey. So, where did it disappear for the majority of its life, and why is it worth $150,000?

A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season

by Tyler Colman

A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season approaches wine education from a seasonal perspective. Walking readers through wine tasting month by month, this book challenges the notion that lighter wines are limited to warmer months and heavier wines are limited to winter months. A Year of Wine also covers annual occasions, including everything from Super Bowl Sunday to tax day, ensuring you can find a wine for almost every event of the year.

Cork Dork

by Bianca Bosker

A New York Times Critic Pick, Cork Dork follows amateur wine enthusiast and journalist Bianca Bosker’s journey into the niche world of sommeliers and wine tasting. Readers follow Bosker’s skeptical approach to the topic, seeing everything from underground tasting groups to a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine in an effort to answer the incessant question: what’s the big deal about wine?

How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine

by Jancis Robinson

How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine operates on a simple principle: there is no better way to learn about wine than by tasting it. Focusing first on pairing wine to get more flavor out of your food, Jancis Robinson then moves on to educate about specific wines and grapes, making the process easier for those learning how to taste. A comprehensive guide on wine flavors, including how to purchase wine at the store or in a restaurant, this book can make anyone a more confident wine consumer. 

Judgement of Paris

by George M. Taber

The only reporter present for the 1976 wine tasting, George M. Taber details his experience with the winemakers competing in the infamous Judgement of Paris, where a California wine beat a French wine for the first time in a blind taste test. From winemakers to judges, the eccentric personalities of everyone involved make this an exceedingly interesting read.

Sideways

by Rex Pickett

Following two friends on a trip to California’s wine country, this novel evaluates the complex relationships formed between people. Friends Jack and Miles embark on their road trip with two separate goals. Jack sees the trip as his last week of freedom before marriage, and recently-divorced Miles sees the trip as a way to reevaluate his current life circumstances. Funny and insightful, the novel contains not only interesting evaluations of men, women and human relationships but also beautiful details about wine. 

The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know

by Jon Bonné

Wine writer Jon Bonné uses this book to try and make the process of finding a glass of wine you enjoy both less intimidating and much easier. His recommended first step? Forget everything wine experts have told you. This book insists that a wine’s price rarely affects its quality, and that rosé is a great wine to drink at any time of year. 

The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Greatest Wines of Europe

by Rajat Parr & Jordan Mackay

Taking account of soil, sub regions and climate intricacies that affect the flavor profile of a wine, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste presents an extremely in-depth study of European wines. The consideration of every detail going into a bottle makes this an excellent modern approach to wine education.

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

by Tilar J. Mazzeo

After her husband’s death, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin broke tradition by taking over the business they had started together. Directing Veuve Clicquot to the status it occupies today, she became one of the richest women of her time, creating a lasting legacy and achieving a level of success extremely uncommon for women of the 19th century. The Widow Clicquot also shares the work that goes into creating a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

The Wine Bible

by Karen MacNeil

An informative read for amateurs and wine professionals alike, The Wine Bible explores wines around the world, from France to Australia. Describing the science behind some of our favorite wines, including why champagne has bubbles, this book evaluates wine from the grapes to the bottle, as well as pairing suggestions. 

Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change

by Andrew A. Painter

Virginia has been producing wine longer than any U.S. state. Over 400 years, Virginia’s wine country has experienced failures and successes unlike any other area in the country. Covering the region’s rich wine history from the earliest accounts of Native American vineyards to the modern-day winemaking boom and makers like Felicia Rogan of Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery, Virginia Wine by Andrew Painter, a University of Virginia alumnus and Virginia resident, is a great read for anyone interested in learning more about local wines. Get a copy at the Wine & Country Shop.

What to Drink with What You Eat

by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

What to Drink With What You Eat covers not only wine pairings but also beer, spirits, coffee and tea, making it the ultimate beverage pairing book. Along with pairing tips, it includes advice from some of the top wine experts and James Beard Award-winning chefs in America. 

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

by Madeline Puckette & Justin Hammack

This James Beard Award-winning book covers everything you need to know about wine, from varietals and labelling to pairing, and all color-coded so you can find the information you’re searching for easily. Complete with a wine region explorer to provide information on the world’s top winemaking countries, this book creates a practical and easy-to-use way to learn about wine. Get a copy at the Wine & Country Shop.

Wine & War: The French, The Nazis & The Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure

by Donald & Petie Kladstrup

After the Germans began their occupation of France in 1940, Nazis began hunting down French wine as an exploitable asset. To preserve their hard work, French wine makers had to take drastic measures to hide their wine from Nazi troops. This book follows the incredible story of the French winemakers who kept their wine out of the Germans’ hands, saving the French winemaking industry. 

 

To find more great reads, wine-related or not, follow the “Culture Notes” section in each issue of Wine & Country Life and stop by our Wine & Country Shop for cookbooks, home décor inspiration and books by local authors. ~ 

MARY ALLEN TALLEY is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia and interned at Ivy Life & Style Media. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and exploring the local wine scene.




 

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings, are complemented by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. The Shop features over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made foods and award-winning Virginia wines and craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country covers the grape-growing foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Lynchburg to Leesburg, including points in between like Charlottesville and Middleburg. Ivy Life & Style Media also creates other projects, including CharlottesvilleFamily.com, a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as the CharlottesvilleWelcomeBook.com a guide to resources for Charlottesville tourists and newcomers.

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