Reading and tasting are the best ways to deepen your knowledge.¬†Since we can’t sell wine or beer, here are Marnie’s picks for books that can expand your horizons.
Marnie’s Reading List
There are a lot of great books out there, but some are truly outstanding.¬†Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a thoughtful gift, this ‘short list’ gathers the best in one place.
by Kevin Zraly
If you're only ever going to buy one wine book and it has to do it all, this is it. Kevin is the guy who got me hooked on wine, and he can do the same for you in a style that is refreshingly free of pretension. His introductory wine book is comprehensive without being exhausting. It is easy to use, fun to read and makes enough generalizations to help any beginner feel like a pro.
by Andrea Robinson
For those who are in the early stages of a lifelong love of wine, and who embrace the idea of some intoxicating 'homework', this book is perfect for you. Not only does it clearly explain some of the wine world's most complex topics, but it even provides a roadmap for learning even more through experience. For each topic there is a suggested 'side-by-side' tasting recommended down to the best brands. After teaching under Andrea for years at the French Culinary Institute, I have enormous respect for her achievement in this book.
by Karen MacNeil
A little more in depth than either of the above is this great book by Karen MacNeil. Like a 'baby reference' book, it covers more of the world's wine regions and styles. While less well suited to absolute beginners, hers has the advantage of more insight into food pairing as well as the bonus of suggestions for those who plan to visit the region.
by Tom Stevenson
The be-all and end-all industry standard wine reference, the one book no Master Sommelier can live without. Brilliantly organized by region and packed with maps and illustrations, this is a book no serious wine library, wine store or restaurant can be without. While there are many wine encyclopedias, none hold a candle to Tom Stevenson's masterwork.
by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson
The fascination of wine lies in its distinctive regionality, the mysterious imprint of the vineyard on wine's flavor that we call 'terroir'. Hugh Johnson's impeccable rendering of the world's major wine regions is indispensable for those who wish to understand how wine works. Flip it open to the Côte s'Orthe heart of France's Burgundy regionfor a taste of how hugely important topography really is in determining a vineyard's potential for greatness.
by Jancis Robinson
For wine professionals and closet wine geeks, each page of this massive book offers some new revelation or tidbit. Unlike most comprehensive wine books, it is helpfully alphabetized like a dictionaryso you can look up Wrattonbully and Pacherenc-de-Vic-Bilh even if you don't know what country they're in.
Books on Beer and Other Fermented Beverages
Intrigued by the broad range of specialty beers?¬†Stumped by cider, sake or mead?¬† Wine isn’t the only fermented beverage that can deliver flavor complexity and food-friendly refreshment.¬†Satisfy your brewing curiosity with these terrific titles.
by Michael Jackson
Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
by Sam Calagione
Books on Spirits and Cocktails
Whether you’re interested in the understanding distillation or looking for creative cocktail recipes, you’ll find a useful collection of resources here.
by Vincent Gasnier
Books on Restaurants and Service
This section combines everything from restaurant guides to service manuals, from inspirational biographies to insider scoops on the restaurant biz.
Sales and Service for the Wine Professional
by Brian Julyan
Books on Other Topics
Like the way Marnie thinks?¬†You may well appreciate a look at some of the books that have influenced her uncommon approach.
by Edward R. Tufte
Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative
by Edward R. Tufte