When we head to the beach we put two things in our bag: booze and books. We enjoy all sorts of drinks on the beach, but we have an obvious preference for wine. If you’re looking for books that pair well with your wine, we’ve put together a list of 8 great wine books. Each of these books hits on a different aspect of wine, so there should be something for everyone. If nothing below sounds interesting, head over to the VinePair Bookshelf to see our list of 12 essential wine reads.
A Thriller With A Million Euro Extortion Plot That’s Actually Non-Fiction.
Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter
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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy, France produces what many people say is the world’s greatest wine. Bottles go for upwards of ten thousand dollars. In 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the vineyard’s proprietor, received an anonymous note demanding 1 million Euros. If he didn’t pay up, the man who sent it promised to poison his vines. We won’t ruin the story, but the threat was quite credible.
A Wine Guide That Isn’t About Selling Wine, But About Learning & Loving Wine.
Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France by Kermit Lynch
Kermit Lynch is one of the world’s most famous wine importers. Lynch’s book is part wine guide, part ode to minimal intervention (natural wine!), part professional memoir. However you want to look at it, it’s a fascinating look at French wine from the perspective of a man who both loves the stuff and knows how to sell it.
WWII War Stories…With Wine.
Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup
This book offers up a fascinating slice of WWII history in occupied France, from winemakers passing off bad bottles to German soldiers to the extreme efforts those winemakers went to physically conceal their prized vintages.
A Complete, Accessible, Unromantic History Of Wine.
If you’re looking for an accessible history of wine, from the ancient world, through wine’s first era of globalization, on to the modern wine trade, this is your book. Lukacs clearly has an affection for wine, but he’s also quick to note that ‘wine’ isn’t static. What we drink today is quite different from the wines our ancient ancestors imbibed.
A Soap Opera About A Filthy Rich Winemaking Family.
The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler
If you’re like most Americans you’re at least passingly familiar with the Mondavi name. This is the story of one of our earliest, greatest wine families. Warts and all. Or, as the promotional copy explains: “An epic, scandal-plagued story of the immigrant family that built—and then spectacularly lost—a global wine empire.”
Where California Wine Is Headed. Or Not. Or Is. It’s Complicated.
We’re not big on wine world feuds, but if you want some background on a particularly geeky wine world dust-up, Bonné’s book (or is it a manifesto?) is the place to start. It’s both a guide to and a summary of the state of California wine.
Maps, Maps And More Maps.
The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson have other important wine books credited to their names: Robinson’s reference text, The Oxford Companion to Wine, and Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, among others. This book, a comprehensive guide to the world’s wine regions, is on our list on account of its famous maps, which it’s got plenty of (we like maps here).
A Study Of The Economic Implications Of The Globalization Of Wine…That’s Actually Light(ish) Reading.
Whether you’re a wine geek or someone who likes to read about the business of [insert industry here] you’re going to enjoy this book. The author, Veseth, is both a professor and a blogger. This book threads the line between academic info and light reading just as you’d hope. Written in 2012, it’s particularly interesting to read back-to-back with Kermit Lynch’s book (from 1990).