The Wine Books You Will Be Buying
Wine literature doesn’t just appear between the 1’s and 0’s of the Internet and in the pages of magazines and newspapers. In fact, many of us have for years relied on book form publications for our foundational wine education and for some of the best writing on wine anywhere.
So, it’s always interesting to see what’s coming down the pike. Below is my list of some of the most interesting, important and unique wine books set to be published before the end of 2012
OZ CLARK’S POCKET WINE BOOK 2012
By Oz Clark (Pavillion, October 12, 2012)
Oz Clark has been producing this small book for a long time. An earlier version was among the first wine books I ever purchased. And I learned a lot. If this series of wine books isn’t the best or among the best selling wine series still published, I’d be surprised. Basically what you are getting here is a country-by-country index of more than 4,000 wines along with concise and useful commentary. Oz always produces a great guide
HOW TO LOVE WINE: A MEMOIR AND A MANIFESTO
By Eric Asimov (William Morrow, October 16, 2012)
What this looks like is a cultural anthropology of America’s relationship with wine examined through the eyes of a true wine lover with a depth of knowledge rare among Americans. The wine writer for the New York Times, Asimov has the opportunity that very few others have: to think about wine full time without the burden of having to sell it, distribute it, make it or serve it. Look for him to pour much of what he has learned and felt and seen from his unique perch into this book. Given Eric’s precise and personal writing style, this looks like the kind of publication that will be extraordinarily well received.
WINE GRAPES: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO 1,368 VINE VARIETIES INCLUDING THEIR ORIGINS AND FLAVORS
By Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz (Ecco, October 30, 2012)
Jancis Robinson edited the most important wine book of the past two decades: “The Oxford Guide to Wine”. From the looks of this massive tome, it appears she and her co-authors have gone about creating the next most important wine book in the universe. Who knew there were 1,368 grape varieties? Who would believe anyone would think they could compile a comprehensive explanation of each? With wines now appearing on the shelves and available on the Internet form a huge swath of “New World” countries and new Old World competitors as well as from every state in U.S., this book looks to be especially important as we begin drinking more wines made from native and heritage grapes.
THE CURIOUS WORLD OF WINE: FACTS, LEGENDS AND LORE ABOUT THE DRINK WE LOVE SO MUCH
By Richard Vine (Perigee Trade (November 6, 2012)
Richard Vine is one of those folks (Like Emily Wine) whose very name suggests they are the right person for the job. But even if his name were Joe Milk, Richard’s credentials would do the trick. Vine is an academic and a well know vineyard consultant that travels the world on behalf of clients. That makes this seemingly un-academic book something of a surprise. This upcoming book looks like the perfect gift for someone just getting into wine or for the long-term wine lover who, come Christmas or Hanukkah, is looking for something a little different. What’s also curious and interesting is the name of the book. I like how it seems to address that insiders club of wine lovers (“WE love so much”).
SOFT SOIL, BLACK GRAPES: THE BIRTH OF ITALIAN WINEMAKING IN CALIFORNIA
By Simone Cinotto (NYU Press November 12, 2012)
What we have here appears to be an examination of Italian culture in America through the lens of those winemakers that helped created the California wine industry. It’s a splendid topic. My very first client in the wine industry was Foppiano Vineyards, one of the most esteemed Italian winemaking families that began their own winemaking journey in 1896 and was able to carry on through and beyond Prohibition. It was an education that I’m thrilled to have undergone. Anyone interested in the development of the California wine industry absolutely must understand the role that Italian, along with German and Portuguese, immigrants played in the early days of the industry. Simone Cinotto seems uniquely suited to tell this story. Cinotto teaches Food History at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo, Italy, and is the Academic Director of the Masters Program in Food Culture and Communications.
DIVINE VINTAGE: FOLLOWING THE WINE TRAIL FROM GENESIS TO THE MODERN AGE
By Joel Butler and Randell Heskett (Palgrave Macmillan November 13, 2012)
If this isn’t the most interesting book coming down the pike, then color me wine red. In “Divine Vintage” wine writer Joel Butler and biblical scholar Dr. Randall Heskett are apparently set to examine the role of wine in shaping biblical culture, biblical scholarship and the view of wine in culture from a biblical perspective. I’m not a big bible reader. But I’ve certainly read the book. And it’s hard not to appreciate the monumental role the Bible has played in Western Civilization at every level. And so it is with wine. I’m really looking forward to reading this book.
INVENTING WINE: A NEW HISTORY OF ONE OF THE WORLDS MOST ANCIENT PLEASURES
By Paul Lukacs (W. W. Norton & Company, December 3, 2012)
I cannot say enough about the literary work of Paul Lukacs. Over the past decade, he has written two of the best wine books I’ve read: “American Vintage” and “The Great Wines of America”. In both cases, Paul took on the breadth and depth of American wine. In this upcoming book it appears he’s going after the entire history of wine. it will be interesting to see how Lukacs takes on a subject that has been covered before and how he does it in a fresh way. Based on his past work and his status as one of our best wine writers, I have no doubt he’ll bring the history of wine a fresh take and understanding.