Books about Wine

Wine Wars is Mike Veseth’s superb book about the forces shaping the modern wine industry.  From the Curse of the Blue Nun to Two Buck Chuck to the revenge of the terroirists, Mr. Veseth provides an engaging and entertaining look at one of the world’s most interesting industries.  He’s an economist, and his insights into the economic forces driving change in the business are worth the cost of admission by themselves. Read the ProjectSunlight review.

Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine.  Journalist George Tabor’s book about the competition that proved California wines were as good and better as those of France.  The 1976 contest was the beginning of the globalization of wine that gave rise to great wineries in Chile, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, among other countries.

The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste (Read Project Sunlight Review)

Wine cellars: Everyone wants a wine cellar, but there’s more involved than just putting up some shelves in a basement.  Temperature and humidity are particularly important.  How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar offers a good, thorough, if at times overly technical, explanation of the process, while The Home Wine Cellar is a somewhat less technical, but beautifully illustrated book that manages to cover the basics and more.  Someone once told me that lots of people think they want a vineyard, but after an afternoon of working in one, they realize that what they really want is a wine cellar.  I want both, even though I’m thinking that the cellar will be less work and will offer rewards that amply repay those long days of toiling in the vineyard!

Vineyards and Viticulture

Wine Grape Production Guide for Eastern North America, edited and (mostly) written by Virginia Tech’s Tony Wolf, is the essential reference for anyone even thinking of starting a vineyard on the east coast.  For that matter, it’s probably useful for anyone in the business of growing wine grapes, no matter where they’re located.

Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally is Alice Feiring’s excellent adventure through the world of natural wine.  Her book reads like a blog, which can be good or bad, depending upon how her personality wears on you, but she clearly knows a good deal about wine and natural wine in particular.

Tasting Wine

Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor, by Francois Chartier; Wine Spectator (7/31/12) notes that Chartier believes “everyone has a nose and a tongue.  If you work hard on aroma recognition and taste, eventually you will become a good taster.”   For people like me, who don’t have great palates, that’s comforting.