As my wine journey officially kicks off, research is becoming more and more important. When I say important what I really mean is that it’s addictive. I cannot get enough of the stuff. If there is a wine nerd bug, I’ve caught it. Whether I am reading, online researching, talking or listening to different ways of thinking about wine, I am hooked on gaining as much knowledge as I can. Yes, the old nerd in me is back to play! One particularly fun part of my research is that it has lead me to a few excellent reads. I’d love to introduce you to a few! Bugs are contagious, right? Catch this one ha! Whether in hard copy, or on Audible, these guys represent some of the most entertaining, current and insightful treats for a wine lover in training. Each covers a different side of the wine world and serves a unique purpose. Much like in the world of wine, there is something for everyone! Why not check them out?! Catch the bug with me. I’ve heard it’s cured by wine? Ha!
Please note, these are not official or paid reviews, just my silly opinions. I have organised the books in a similar way to your traditional wine tasting. That is, just like when tasting wine, we will move from light-bodied to fortified books (or wines, ha). I recommend reading in that order as well. Your understanding and relationship with wine content will build up over the course of each book. Why not pick up a new bottle and start reading? Let me know your thoughts x
Light-Bodied = Wine All The Time. : The Casual Guide To Confident Drinking.
By: Marissa A. Ross | Year: 2017
Marissa A Ross is a big inspiration for me. Her story is pretty cool and certainly relatable. With nothing but a love for wine (mostly natural wine), and an interest in writing under her belt, Marissa jumped into a wine writing career a few years ago. It is with hard work, a commitment to learning about wine and a no bullshit attitude that Marissa became one of the figure heads of the modern natural wine world. Thank goodness she had the guts to get out there and give something new a go. Like I said, she inspires me.
The book reads really easily. It is almost as though Marissa is talking to you as a pal. Her goal is simple and might I say, very helpful. She wants you to be able to understand a little bit more about wine. Easy as that. There is no pretension, no fancy pants lingo and no “you must buy this $100 wine to understand” mentality. Rather, Marissa is full of tips for how to remove the layer of BS that so often clouds wine conversations. Each chapter brings more of her personality and simply opens up space for us everyday kids to enjoy wine a little bit more. There is a light and free flowing sense of humour, with Marissa taking nice jabs at herself throughout. It’s easy going, lightly informative and just a good fun read all round. If you are looking to top up your confidence in talking about wine with your friends this weekend, I highly recommend getting to know Marissa’s writing. You will see natural wine in a new, energetic light. Bye bye bullshit ha!
Medium-Bodied = Wine For Normal People. : A Guide for Real People Who Like Wine, But Not the Snobbery That Goes with It
By: Elizabeth Schneider | Year: 2019
You know who likes wine? Everyone. This book takes the reader inside the learning journey of Elizabeth Schneider, a certified wine expert. There is a lot of really useful information, alongside a few personal stories. The combination works quite well, as Elizabeth doesn’t take the theory of wine tasting and analysis too seriously. You will definitely gain a new wine vocabulary and pick up some helpful information on international wine regions. This book provides a nice generalist tool kit and is worth reading if you are looking to speed up your wine learning. Crammed full with a range of wine info, you will be able to appreciate the complexities of the world of wine. Try not to be overwhelmed, Schneider is there for you. Also, don’t forget that you can always re-read the complicated history sections. I did!
Full-Bodied = The Everyday Guide To Wine (Lecture Series)
By: Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan and The Great Courses | Year: 2018
What a resource! Simonetti-Bryan is an excellent teacher. If you are keen to learn the differences between French Syrah and Australian Shiraz, or the political history of South American wines, dive into this bad boy. The content is dense, full of intricate details and will leave you with a lot of things to think about. If you already have a fair amount of wine knowledge, that is fantastic. Why not debate the pros and cons of cork v. screw top. If you are up for it, let the guide super boost your intel. Topics are laid out nicely, across the globe, and the ordering makes logical sense. I’d just caution against multi-tasking with this one. The heavy content requires full attention and a study-like focus. After all, it’s a lecture series and you are meant to finish up with a newfound insight into the past, present and future of all things wine. Good luck with your studies!
Fortified (aka for those wanting something different) = Godforsaken Grapes
By: Jason Wilson | Year: 2018
Picking up this one was a risk! I wondered if I would be able to relate to stories about rare and unusual grapes. Low and behold, I was pleasantly surprised. Wilson’s tone is welcoming and encouraging. He runs through his personal experiences with rare grape varieties and often includes little digs at the conventional wine crowd. He shares my distaste for Bordeaux ha! Finally, someone gets why I am so over the snooty Bordeaux crowd. Just because Napoleon liked the stuff doesn’t mean that I have to! Outside of our shared tastes, Wilson’s sense of exploration, humility and open mindedness is near addictive. Disclaimer though, I would only dive into this one after reading the three. There is a fair amount of wine lingo and assumed knowledge. If you are all under control with soil types and basic grape genealogy, then you should be able to enjoy the stories of bizarre Swiss wines and funny anecdotes of vineyard injuries and why finding underrated wines is worth it. Pretty sure I never wanted this story telling to end.
What’s next on the list? Wine Folly, by Madeline Puckette (2018) and Understanding the World of Wine by Brian Wheaton (2018). Let the learning continue!