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Whet Your Palate: Favorite Intro Wine Books

Beginning your wine journey is exhilarating but daunting.

Even as a professional studying for your first certification there’s that feeling of, “Where to begin?” The world of wine is HUGE, and even if you plan on simply tasting your way through it (never a bad idea) you have to know a bit just to read labels!

Luckily, there are MANY books to whet your palate. But even choosing the “best” book can feel overwhelming. Let me help!

First, it’s all about the best book for your own personal goals. I’ve chosen three of my favorite “introductory” wine books that all serve different purposes. Of course, there’s many more out there, and we can discuss “next level” books further down the road. But for those just jumping down the magical rabbit hole that is #winelove I wholeheartedly recommend the following!

The New Wine Rules by Jon Bonné

Are you the type who prefers Cliff’s Notes? No judgment here! We live in an age of scrolling for quick snippets of information, and that’s exactly what veteran wine writer Jon Bonné provides in his latest book. Bonné wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for years and during that time penned his first book The New California Wine (a great “next level” read.) But more recently he realized while dining out and eavesdropping on a neighboring table just how intimidating a wine list and the wine world can be. He wrote this book to tackle the issue. From tips on opening wine to proper serving temperature to starting a collection – Bonné provides immensely readable, one page answers! You might also enjoy reading his column in the online magazine PUNCH and keep an eye out for his next book The New French Wine.

Secrets of the Sommeliers by Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay

If Cliff’s Notes are not your style but you are not quite ready for the more textbook wine guides then check this book out. It’s co-written by famed sommelier-turned-winery owner Rajat Parr with his good friend and journalist Jordan Mackay. Chapters range from “Pairing Wine with Food” to “Thinking Like A Sommelier”… Even those subjects might sound intimidating, but this book has such a grounding flow that it intrigues rather than terrifies! For “next level” reading from this duo check out their brand new book The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste, which provides insight into the flavor profiles of noted Old World (aka European) wines.

For those who prefer novels – this is your book! In reality, this is the memoir of legendary wine importer Kermit Lynch, but it has that engaging, transport-me-to-another-world feel to it! It is entirely focused on Lynch’s travels in France and time with winemakers there so it’s of course single minded. But I remember when a friend loaned me this book at the beginning of my own wine journey…I think I finished it in one sitting! It’s the stories of the folks behind the wine, and that’s the real magic of this world for me.

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