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The Holiday Season Wine Book Gift Pack

I think most wine lovers have a bookshelf full of wine books.  Few other niche subjects are so ripe for publishing to an at once wonky yet socially hungry audience eager to demonstrate their knowledge, hence the perpetual stream of new titles.

We’ve seen some recent publishing around wine as a topic that combines the more esoteric convergence of our favorite subject with weighty, more philosophical concerns.  I’m talking about books like Wine & Philosophy edited by Fritz Allhoff and Questions of Taste edited by Barry C. Smith, for example.

And, we’ve seen non-fiction wine-related books take a turn to the more narrative oriented.  Think of books like House of Mondavi by Julia Flynn Siler and To Cork or Not to Cork and Judgement of Paris, both by George M. Taber, not to mention older titles like The Far Side of Eden by James Conaway.

Frankly, this expansion of the publishing profile is refreshing to me, and likely all of you, as well.  You can only publish the introductory guide to wine so many times, even if it seems another ½ dozen or more pop up annually—like mushrooms after a hearty spring rain.

As the holidays near, I’ve given thought to the books that I would gift to the budding oenophile—a combination of introductory text and books that look at wine from a broader context.  Here’s my list of Top Six books that I would gift along with an honorable mention or two.  What are the books that you would replace from this list and with what other titles would you replace them?

#1) The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil

#2) Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine by Mark Oldman

#3) Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly

#4) How to Taste:  A Guide to Enjoying Wine by Jancis Robinson

#5) Making Sense of Wine by Matt Kramer

#6) American Vintage:  The Rise of American Wine by Paul Lukacs

Honorable Mention: The Accidental Connoisseur by Lawrence Osbourne

2nd Honorable Mention: Wine Style:  Using Your Senses to Explore and Enjoy Wine by Mary Ewing-Mulligan and Ed McCarthy

Please leave a comment and tell me how badly I’m missing the boat on a particular book, or, of course, feel free to agree.


Posted in, Free Run: Field Notes From a Wine Life. Permalink | Comments (5) |


On 11/21, Jeff Cleveland wrote:

I would list your first three books in exactly the order you do. I would also add A Life Uncorked by Hugh Johnson. The way he tells the story of wine regions is so unique and you can hardly read the book without wanting to learn to enjoy wine the way he so obviously does.

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