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Best Books for Wine Lovers

Monday, November 21, 2022

By Erin Robertson

As a book addict trapped in the body of a wine salesperson, I’ve spent years flipping through pages that combine my two passions. I’m here to tell you that there are a lot of fun books about wine out there, for both fiction and nonfiction readers.

When you’re elevating your wine selections to add an extra pop to your holiday celebrations, why not imbibe in a book that goes along with what you’re drinking? To help, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites and suggested which wine to sip while reading.

Bonus: these books also make great gifts for the oenophile in your life.

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Fast paced and juicy, Eight Hundred Grapes follows Georgia Ford who, the week before her wedding, discovers that her fiancé has been keeping a huge secret. Georgia returns home to her family’s vineyard in Sonoma Valley to heal her broken heart but discovers more secrets await her.

Dave’s portrayal of what it’s like to live on a vineyard in the dreamy Sonoma Valley will have you longing to be able to do the same. Fans of her more recent novel, The Last Thing He Told Me, will devour this one as well.

Suggested Pairing: a silky Pinot Noir from Sonoma

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

Lovers of historical fiction will gulp down this dual timeline story following Kate, a sommelier in San Francisco studying for the final Masters of Wine exam, and her family who owns a vineyard in Burgundy during World War II. As she delves into her family’s history, Kate learns about their participation in the resistance efforts during the war and uncovers a hidden stash of valuable wine buried deep in the caves.

I inhaled this book and can confidently say that it’s the most accurate representation of what it’s like to sling grapes for a living. The insider info and spicy story makes The Lost Vintage a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to work in the world of wine.

Suggested Pairing: an elegant red or white from the Burgundy region of France

Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory

I never read romance until Jasmine Guillory’s first book, The Wedding Date, and it completely opened my eyes. I was shocked that the modern-day romance genre is a far cry from ripped bodice cover art and damsels in distress. Instead, Guillory depicts strong women who have their act together and show the men who’s boss. When I found out that her latest novel was set in Napa Valley, where I lived for 13 years, I squealed with excitement and couldn’t hit “pre-order” fast enough.

Swirling around the small world of Napa and filled with characters you’re sure to meet if you spend time there, this book definitely has legs.

Suggested Pairing: a supple Cabernet Sauvignon

Sideways by Rex Pickett

Any wine enthusiast has seen Sideways, the 2004 buddy comedy starring Thomas Hayden Church and Paul Giamatti, but I’ve met few people who have actually read the book. The story follows Miles and Jack on their bachelor party adventure through the Santa Ynez Valley wine region, but the book explores much further into the background of each of the characters, making you fall for them even more. There are also several scenes in the book that aren’t in the movie, including one that had me laughing so hard I nearly choked on the wine I was sipping.

In a classic case of the book being better than the movie, Sideways is clever, uproarious, and heartbreaking. Plus, you’ll doubly impress the wine snobs you come across who quote the movie by dropping in that you’ve read the book.

Suggested pairing: F*cking Merlot, of course

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar J. Mazzeo

The wine world is notoriously male-dominated, so any book that portrays a female trailblazer in the industry is one that I’ll happily gulp down. The Widow Clicquot tells the true story of the woman behind the famous yellow label and delves deeper into how she built the Veuve Clicquot Champagne house into the global brand it is today, educating readers on the process of making the delicate beverage.

Read it before New Year’s Eve and ring in 2023 with a whole new appreciation for the bubbles in your glass.

Suggested Pairing: Veuve Clicquot, or any other true Champagne

Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara

The business of wine (and alcohol) has been largely relegated to the male species, but so has the consumption and marketing. Drinking culture is largely seen as a masculine endeavor, but Girly Drinks asks why and examines the female-driven aspects of the history of alcohol production and consumption.

A book that dismantles patriarchal un-truths and celebrates female makers and culture-shakers? I’ll drink to that.

Suggested Pairing: something pink, like a crisp, chilled Rosé

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack

Madeline Puckette is famous in the wine corner of the internet for removing the snob factor of wine and making the subject approachable and fun. She has reached millions of people with her down-to-earth and easily digestible style of conveying information about a sometimes tricky and intimating subject. Her book is a fun extension of her online presence.

This is a must-have reference book for anyone who is wine-curious and wants to know more about what is swirling around in their glass.

Suggested Pairing: anything you like – wine should be fun!


Erin Robertson is a wine industry sales and marketing pro with 20 years of working in the wine industry in various capacities. After living in Napa Valley for thirteen years, Erin is now living in Charlottesville, VA with her family. She and her husband run two companies together: Hally Wine Company, a full-service wine industry consulting company, and Dogwood & Thistle, a small wine brand making wine in Northern California and Central Virginia. You can connect with her on Instagram @erin.e.robertson.