The 10 Best Wine Books for Beginners | Wine Enthusiast
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The 10 Best Wine Books for Beginners, According to Pros

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Ever mistaken White Zinfandel for a white wine? Or been lost while trying to navigate a tricky wine list? Have zero clue how to pronounce “Paso Robles”?

We’ve all been there. After all, even the most seasoned wine pros once knew nada. It can take years to master the complex world of vino, and yes, even experts have robust libraries filled with dogeared copies of favorite wine reference books.

That’s why we asked our team at Wine Enthusiast to share their favorite tried-and-true wine books with those of us newer to the wine scene. Reading these informative volumes is often the best way to brush up on your wine knowledge, whether you’re at the very beginning of your wine-drinking journey or already on your way.

Their selections range from all-encompassing, dictionary-like tomes to essay collections to titles focused on a particular genre.

These are the 10 best books about wine for beginners to peruse.

Best for Learning the Fundamentals

The Wine Bible, 3rd Edition by Karen MacNeil

“Perhaps the most indispensable introduction to wine out there, and a trusted resource for years to come,” shares Print Managing Editor John Capone. “It’s an easy-to-file, yet never simplistic overview of vast swaths of wine knowledge.”

In the book, MacNeil takes her readers through a comprehensive, yet entertaining course on the fundamentals of wine. Learn everything you need to know from climate and terroir to how to master food and wine pairings.

$44 Amazon

Best for Visual Learners

Wine Simple by Aldo Sohm

The title of this one says it all: This is an easy-to-digest reference book for wine newbies. From lauded sommelier Aldo Sohm, who has worked with celebrated chef Eric Ripert as wine director of the three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin for over a decade, this book couldn’t be any less pretentious. The pages are filled with vibrant, informative graphics that break down complex subjects without skimping on the details, making it easier for visual learners to retain the information. Learn the basics, everyday tips and techniques to help develop your palate.

$19 Amazon

Best Essential Wine Book

The World Atlas of Wine, 8th Edition by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson

“Love it. Swear by it. Still reference it from time to time,” says Wine Enthusiast Tasting Director Anna-Christina Cabrales.

Few wine books can truly be called classics, but this one certainly deserves the designation. Inside, you’ll find maps and photographs that show how the wine landscape continues to evolve around the world. This most recent edition zooms in on changes in the global wine scene, with a wealth of information on the history that came beforehand. It’s essential wine reading for anyone looking to learn.

$30 Amazon

Best Workbook-Style Wine Book

Wine Made Easy by Gianluca Rottura

Written by a New York City wine shop owner, this book dispenses with tricky graphs and hard-to-read maps in favor of plain English descriptions of general wine terms, plus a rundown of favorite American fare and the best wines to accompany them. This tome is perfect for beginners looking for something akin to a school workbook to deepen their knowledge.

$15 Amazon

Best for Rosé Lovers

Rosé All Day: The Essential Guide to Your New Favorite Wine by Katherine Cole

Rosé has only gained popularity and respect in the last decade, so it’s worth delving into the genre if you’re a fan. Respected wine writer Katherine Cole demonstrates that pink is more than just a pretty color in this rosé-focused book. “Aside from the pretty and pink illustrations and infographics, this book served as a comprehensive guide throughout my journey as a rosé novice,” shares former Digital Editorial Assistant Jaime Brown. Cole delves into the rich history of rosé through regional descriptions, food-pairing suggestions and savvy advice on how to start a collection of your own.

$5.50 Amazon

Best for Personal Essay Lovers

A Hedonist in the Cellar by Jay Mclnerney

This collection of essays from a novelist-screenwriter-wine-columnist details the author’s early days as an oenophile. “He brings a novelist’s flair and imagination to stories about wines and the people who make them,” shares Capone. Readers applaud Mclnerney’s relatable reporting and narrative skills, which Capone believes can lure anyone into the world of wine. “It’s not a reference book at all, but following McInerney down into the cellar is infectious.”

$15 Amazon

Best for Novel-Style Inspiration

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

What’s the big deal about wine? Sommelier and blogger Bianca Bosker posed this same question before becoming infatuated with its complexity. This approachable pick reads like a story and is as intoxicating as it is informative—making it an inspiring way to kickstart your own wine journey.

$13 Amazon

Best for Detailed Wine Region Maps and Varietals

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition by Justin Hammack and Madeline Puckette

The original Wine Folly was a beloved success known as a digestible and practical wine guide for beginner oenophiles. Now, this hardcover edition, which won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2019, is packed with even more info. There are more than 100 grape varietals discussed, a fun explorer map of wine regions, an expanded pairing section, methods for tasting wine and a primer on acidity and tannins.

$17 Amazon

Best for the Natural-Wine-Curious

Natural Wine for the People: What It Is, Where to Find It, How to Love It by Alice Feiring

If you keep hearing about natural wine bars and shops opening and find yourself wondering what exactly is natural wine, you’re not alone. The last decade has seen an unprecedented increase in the popularity of natural wines, even as the category remains somewhat nebulous and confusing to many. Enter this volume by the inimitable Feiring, who has been called the Queen of Natural Wines, to answer all your questions about organic and biodynamic wines. Her guide is filled with easy-to-understand definitions, tips for sourcing and a definitive list of the must-know producers, all accompanied by whimsical illustrations.

$17 Amazon

Best Wine Pairing Guide

The Wine Dine Dictionary by Victoria Moore

If you want to dive into the world of wine pairings, this title by the wine columnist for the Telegraph should be your guide. Simply organized A-Z by food at one end and A-Z by wine at the other, this dictionary couldn’t be easier to consult—and you’ll surely find yourself doing so often. It will answer the question about what wine to drink with tonight’s dinner or, conversely, what food to cook when you’re ready to open a special bottle. Moore makes an excellent and authoritative guide, not just stating what food goes with which wine, but also clearly explaining how and why the pairing works.

$24 Amazon