Thursday, April 19, 2018


  • Colman, Tyler: Wine Politics, University of California Press, 2010.    From the heavier taxes on wines from the Dordogne River than those from Bordeaux, or the tariffs the English charged on French rather than Portuguese wines during the middle ages to the post-Prohibition, three tier distribution laws which still continue in 21st century America – politics has a powerful effect on what we are able to drink and what it tastes like. Tyler Colman exposes the politics behind the labels.

  • Lukacs, Paul: Inventing Wine, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.   I originally was going to list this book in the ‘history of wine’ section because it traces the history of wine from its Middle-Eastern origins to its growing popularity in 21st century America. But it’s much more than a history book since Paul Lukacs’s real focus is on the combination of economic and social forces that affect how and what we drink.

  • Steinberger, Michael: The Wine Savant, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.    This is very much a book of the moment; Steinberger discusses and analyses all the many issues and questions facing a wine drinker in 21st century America. The difference between a 95 and a 94-point wine, the current relationship between Bordeaux and Burgundy, the fashion for organic and biodynamic wines.

  • Veseth, Mike: Wine Wars, Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.    Mike Veseth has the unique gift of being able to write about dry, academic subjects in a way that makes for gripping and exciting reading. This book explains how all the competing economic forces that churn within today’s wine industry, affect what we are able to put in our glass. In his own words, this book discusses “The curse of the Blue Nun; the Miracle of Two Buck Chuck and the Revenge of the Terroirists.”

  • Wallace, Benjamin: The Billionaire’s Vinegar, Three Rivers Press, 2009.   Starting with the 1985 sale of a bottle of Chateau Lafitte once owned by Thomas Jefferson, for $156,000 – this amazing book introduces us to the surreal world of billionaire wine collectors and people who only drink wine bottled before the phylloxera scourge of the 1860s. Superb nonfiction that feels like fiction.