School is officially back in session, and in the spirit of academic pursuits, we’ve got a list of top-notch tomes de vin to engage your brain! Each of these essential works of wine scholarship offers something special, such as distinct focus, comprehensive content, or unique manner of teaching. By the time you work through these volumes, your wine IQ will be off the charts!
1. The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson
Published by Oxford University Press and edited by renowned Master of Wine Jancis Robinson with submissions by the world’s greatest wine scholars, The Oxford Companion is an elite academic guide to all things wine. Encyclopedic in format, it’s easy to peruse yet meticulous in its detail and comprehensiveness. Don’t expect too many photos or maps to keep you interested; this is all about the information. A dry British wit permeates the pages and makes this a charming and edifying read. If you have any wine query, this book has all of the definitive, alphabetized answers.
2. The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
Yes – Jancis Robinson is included twice and could easily be listed even more times. She selects wines for the Queen of England and has four James Beard awards; she could take over this whole list if she wanted to! Credit where credit is due – acclaimed wine writer Hugh Johnson is the founding author of the The World Atlas, which saw its first incarnation in 1971. Nearly 50 years ago, mapping the entire world of wine was a revolutionary concept, and this collection of illustrative cartography, beautiful photographs, and geographically focused content remains relevant today, with the 7th edition including burgeoning areas such as China, Japan, and Turkey. Wine novices will appreciate introductory sections on popular grapes, winemaking, and cultural history. This is way more than a collection of maps – it’s an invitation to the global world of wine.
3. Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
Blogger, visual designer, and certified sommelier Madeline Puckette has cornered the market on making wine knowledge simple without being basic. Her sharp style, keen wine knowledge, and a pedagogical knack make Wine Folly a fun and useful tool for both beginners and specialists. There’s a roguish undertone to Puckette’s youthful authority, which offers a welcome counterpoint to classic wine education’s occasionally stodgy reputation. The Essential Guide is a fresh perspective for the digital age.
4. The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass by Jamie Goode
Jamie Goode has made a name for himself as a go-to writer on winemaking, and he eagerly shares his knowledge in this approachable text. It is complex but focused in the right way for laypersons – a testament to the density of the subject at hand and Goode’s ability to translate this rarified knowledge. You’ll gain a world of perspective from The Science of Wine, giving every glass the vantage of a viticulturist and enologist.