Every wine enthusiast has dreamed about making its own wine. Such a fantastic drink is exciting at many levels and making wine can be as exhilarating as drinking it.
Of course, like all crafts, making wine requires skills and particular knowledge. That’s where the best wine making books for beginners come in. Reading the right books will point you in the right direction from grape to bottle. Learning about wine is the first step towards making your first batch at home!
With that said, whether you are in for the knowledge or are seriously considering making your own wine at home, here is our list on the best wine books for beginners.
Best Wine Books For Beginners
- Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours
- The Wine Bible, 3rd Edition
- The Oxford Companion to Wine
- Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food
- Wine Folly’s The Essential Guide to Wine
- The World Atlas of Wine
Best Winemaking Books For Beginners
- Home Winemaking for Dummies
- Wild Winemaking
- From Vines to Wines: Winemaking Book for Beginners
- The Joy of Home Winemaking
- Wine Simple: Winemaking Book for Beginners
- The Home Winemaker’s Companion
- Natural Wine for the People
- The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible, 2nd Edition
- Master Winemaking
- True Brews
- A Pot-Pourri of Diverse Questions Asked about the Winemaking Process
Best Wine Books
Before attempting to ferment grapes, you must know as much as possible about wine, the grapes available worldwide and the wine styles made with them. These are the best wine books for introductory wine knowledge.
1. Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours by Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson is one of the most experienced wine experts in the world. Based in the UK, the Master of Wine has written authentic masterpieces about wine, and her guide to wine grapes is one of them.
This heavy book is the most thorough compilation of wine grapes that has ever existed. From popular grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon to rare varietals such as Verdejo, this book covers where and how they grow. Most importantly, this book tells you what the wines made with those grapes look and taste like.
This is not a book you read from start to finish, though, as it would be impossible. Instead, this is a reference book to have in hand, especially when selecting the grapes you want to work with.
2. The Wine Bible, 3rd Edition by Karen McNeil
Calling your book a bible is a bold move, but in this case, author Karen MacNeil has truly compiled everything wine-related, from grape to glass, and no detail was spared.
This book is for you if you want to know about different wine styles, the effect of oak barrels in winemaking, or basic food and wine pairing. The book is also a reference for anyone looking to hone their wine-tasting skills, something useful if you’re planning to make wine at home. The Wine Bible has been one of the best wine books since its first edition, which sold almost one million copies — the third edition is even better.
Have this book around and read it through. You’ll want to return to the most exciting parts often; that’s a fact. A bible indeed, this masterpiece will guide you on the right path, wine-wise, at least.
3. The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson
This wine book is a classic and a must in every wine library. If you enjoy wine, this is genuinely a fantastic companion.
Jancis Robinson, the author of the wine grape book mentioned above, was commissioned to craft this masterpiece. The Oxford Companion series has always been a reliable source of knowledge, and their wine version is no different. If you have a wine-related question, this book has the answer, no matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned wine taster.
And although this book covers winemaking techniques and processes, this is not a winemaking book. If you’re just getting started in the world of wine or have some experience, this book will be a great help. The book is also packed with illustrations and maps, so it’s an entertaining piece best enjoyed with a glass of your favorite wine in hand. The Oxford Wine Companion covers over 4,000 wine topics!
4. Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food by Evan Goldstein
If you want to make wine at home, you’ll need to develop specific skills that apparently have nothing to do with winemaking. One of them is food and wine pairings! Certain wine styles are best enjoyed with a particular food, and these variables are considered by the most talented winemakers, from acidity to tannicity.
Perfect Pairings, by Evan Goldstein, explains (with pictures) why the world’s classic food and wine pairings work with many examples. And that’s not all; you’ll learn how to put together your own flavor combinations.
A good winemaker knows how to make food-compatible wine and knows how its wine complements and contrasts with different types of food. Besides, this book is a great read, but expect to get hungry every time you turn a few pages. Wine and food are two sides of the same coin.
5. Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette
Madeline Puckette is a certified sommelier and James Beard Award winner. Her contributions to the wine world are not to be understated — she made learning about wine fun. Wine Folly, The Essential Guide to Wine is Ms. Puckette’s masterpiece that compiles hundreds of colorful infographics, charts and pictures. Although this book looks like a children’s book, at first sight, the information is of the highest level — fit for the highest industry standard.
Again, this is no winemaking book but many detailed descriptions of grapes, wine styles and regions. This book is also ideal for learning advanced wine-tasting techniques and high-level wine descriptors. Expect 240 pages of engaging content that, although created for beginners, will surprise even the most experienced winemakers and sommeliers.
There’s a premium hardcover edition of this book, the Magnum Edition, but the paperback edition is equally good.
6. The World Atlas of Wine by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson
Author Jancis Robinson teams up with another talented wine writer, Hugh Johnson, to reward us with the most comprehensive and detailed collection of wine maps ever.
The World Atlas of Wine is indispensable for every wine lover, as it profoundly details well-known wine regions and less popular areas. Most importantly, every map has detailed information about the grapes and wines grown in each region.
Wine reflects the land, so knowing where grapes grow matters. If you’re just starting your winemaking journey, you’ll purchase grapes or grape concentrate, as few people can afford to grow their fruit. Here’s where knowledge about the wine world helps. Choose the suitable grapes for your project, and you’ll get closer to the wine style you’re after. Where to start? Enjoy 416 pages of detailed wine maps with descriptions.
Best Wine Making Books
Once you know all there is about the wine regions worldwide and their styles. It’s time to learn how to transform fruit into wine. These are the best winemaking books to start your new vinous undertaking.
7. Home Winemaking for Dummies by Tim Patterson
Let’s talk about winemaking. The Home Wine Making for Dummies book is a great place to start if you’ve never fermented beverages. In fact, this is a must-read to get a hold of the basics of winemaking.
This book covers essential topics, such as selecting grapes for winemaking, crafting red and white wines, and even a few specialty wines. The final chapters cover wine aging. Every step is detailed and simplified for everyone, even those who have never experimented with making wine, to make wine from grape to bottle.
The book also includes a thorough list of items needed to make wine at home, even if you have a limited budget or do not have a lot of space. The “For Dummies” series has always impressed with its quality, and this book is no different.
8. Wild Winemaking by Richard W. Bender
Once you learn how to make wine, you’ll surely want to experiment with other beverages, including plum champagne, banana wine and potato sake!
Richard Bender’s Wild Winemaking book covers all of these curious beverages and more. Of course, the book also contains traditional wine recipes, all detailed and from a beginner’s perspective.
Explore 115 recipes for fruit wine and similar beverages, all easy to recreate in your kitchen with standard equipment. If you’re not all that into the science behind winemaking, this book will make you really happy, as it is not particularly technical. Of course, if you like technical talk, this colorful book will seem a bit simple.
Not all wine is made with grapes. The number of wacky ingredients you can add to your carboy will show you the creative side of winemaking. This is one of the best winemaking books to have around.
9. From Vines to Wines: Winemaking Book for Beginners by Jeff Cox
From Vines to Wines, by Jeff Cox, offers a more serious and technical approach to grape growing and winemaking. This doesn’t mean this handy guide is not a fun read. In fact, Jeff Cox is an excellent storyteller and has more than a few experiences worth reading about.
This book covers the complicated topic of selecting vines, which you won’t find in any other book on this list. You’ll also learn to tend the vines and ensure a healthy crop. Easier said than done; this book can help you undertake some of the most challenging aspects of making wine in the vineyard and cellar.
A recollection of wine styles suitable for distinct climates is greatly appreciated, and so is a list of successful home winemakers and their trade secrets. This is a complete winemaking guide for those who want to grow their grapes and make fine wine out of them.
10. The Joy of Home Winemaking by Terry A. Garey
Don’t be fooled by the retro cover in this book — it covers some of the most modern home winemaking techniques step by step. Terry Garey makes it easy for inexperienced winemakers to craft their first wines with a high success rate. It’s thanks to the book’s uncomplicated recipes and thorough explanation of what’s going on in the fermentation vat.
Ferment, rack, blend, age and bottle your first wine or other fruit ferments with everyday ingredients and equipment. From standard red or white wine to creative drinks like homemade soda pop. Did someone say rhubarb champagne? This book has your back.
The paperback includes 288 pages packed with recipes and insight. You even glimpse the history of the most famous wine styles and what makes them unique. A glossary will help you find what you need to know fast and efficiently.
11. Wine Simple: Winemaking Book for Beginners by Aldo Sohm
Aldo Sohm wrote the most beautiful winemaking book from the perspective of a seasoned sommelier. The descriptions and explanations are clean-cut and elegant, yet easy to understand by anyone. There’s a lot of knowledge in these 272 pages, including information about wine regions and flavor profiles for all wine styles.
Approaching winemaking while giving particular importance to your senses and the wine’s organoleptic properties really change how people make wine. Fine-tuning your nose with the help of Mr. Sohm is also a fantastic way of learning to detect wine faults and flaws.
Educate your senses, and the quality of your wine will be increasingly higher. Even if this is not the most thorough winemaking guide out there, a sommelier’s perspective is priceless and will help you up your winemaking game. This book is just a good read, whether you’re into winemaking or are just a wine lover.
12. The Home Winemaker’s Companion by Ed Halloran and Gene Spaziani
You can never have too many wine recipes, and Ed Halloran will add 115 more tried-and-tested recipes to your repertoire. What’s interesting about this book is that it offers you two approaches: making wine with fresh fruit and concentrate. Every recipe comes with a diagram, clear instructions and a list of all the equipment you need to succeed in your wine project.
Start with simple recipes and make your way into more sophisticated wine styles, including sparkling and fortified wine. Even advanced winemakers will find more than a few tempting recipes in this book. The fact that they’re all revised by a fantastic winemaking team ensures your batch results just as you want it to.
Co-author Gene Spaziani has earned medals in wine competitions for his exquisite ferments, so you’re in good hands. Are you ready to make award-winning wine?
13. Natural Wine for the People by Alice Feiring
If you’re into wine, you’ve probably heard about natural wine. Wine made with minimal intervention and zero additives. The result is honest wine that tastes like nothing you’ve tried before.
If you want to make wine, learning how to make this more-natural style will gain you a few Instagram followers for sure. Natural wine is trendy! It is better for you and the environment as well.
Making natural wine is easy. In fact, much easier than making regular wine, and that’s where Alice Feiring’s book comes in. The James Beard Award-winner talks about natural wine and shows you how to make it the hard way — honestly.
At the end of the day, making natural wine is an act of passion, and you can certainly feel the author’s passion in these 176 pages. Although this is not a technical book, it will undoubtedly inspire you to try making natural wine.
14. The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible, 2nd Edition by Leon W. Kania Sr
Alaska is still a tough place to live in, and if you want a reliable source of wine and other tasty beverages, you must learn to make them yourself. This is author Leon Kania’s take on winemaking. More than a cookbook, this is a survival guide for wine and beer lovers alike.
With a catchy sense of humor and lots of technical information, the author explains how to make wine, beer, liqueurs and spirits with little equipment and ingredients. All recipes come with a fun bootlegging anecdote giving color to the book.
Learn how to build your own still or malt factory, all in your kitchen. Then, craft rustic beverages in Alaska style for an authentic bootlegger experience. Expect 184 pages of history, recipes, diagrams and illustrations, all coming together as an actual bible for home brewing, distilling and winemaking. Can you feel the rush already?
15. Master Winemaking by Travis Reid
This 284-page winemaking guide starts with a shopping list for materials, equipment and ingredients to make a wide variety of wine styles at home. Considering the popularity of winemaking kits, Travis Reid revises the best kits on the market and advises on choosing the right one for your project. As if that weren’t enough, Master Winemaking shows you how to pick suitable bottles and age and store your wine.
This straightforward guide contains thirty wine recipes for grapes and other fruit. The recipes are as easy to understand as their explanations, all in an easy-to-read wine book that’s as readable as thorough.
Tips and advice for every step of the winemaking process make this book a dependable companion for every winemaker, especially the inexperienced. The final chapter includes links to other learning resources, making purchasing this book an easy decision.
16. True Brews by Emma Christensen
Once you start fermenting stuff, you’ll want to try to make more than wine, and that’s where this versatile book by Emma Christensen can help.
Though True Brews is a useful winemaking book, it also covers mead, kefir, beer, cider, sake and kombucha. If you can ferment it, you’ll find it in the book’s 192 pages. Not all recipes here result in alcoholic beverages, but they all benefit from fermentation — you can even learn how to make naturally fermented sodas! You’ll want to make every recipe in this book guaranteed.
17. A Pot-Pourri of Diverse Questions Asked about the Winemaking Process by W. Sherrard-Smith
Let’s wrap up our list of the best wine books with a handy FAQ compilation by W. Sherrard-Smith. This Pot-pourri of wine information covers the most critical winemaking topics, from fermenting to aging, from the equipment needed to the myths surrounding the craft.
This is no winemaking manual, but if you have a wine question, this booklet probably has your answer. With only 36 pages, this booklet is worth carrying around everywhere. The book comes with an exciting introduction to cocktails and beverages.
Winemaking FAQs For Beginners
Is making my own wine worth my time?
Making wine is a beautiful hobby, and you can get very good at it. Of course, most home winemakers don’t produce wine for commercial purposes, which strips out some of the fun. If you are a wine lover, experimenting with making wine at home is an easy decision; otherwise, you might find the process quite frustrating! Turning grape juice into wine is never a waste of time.
Is homemade wine dangerous?
Fermentation is a complex biochemical process, and many things can go wrong. And although unhygienic practices, carelessness or lack of experience can lead to a spoiled batch, even sour wine isn’t dangerous. If the wine is too funky to drink, most likely for bacterial or wild yeast contamination, throw it away. Otherwise, the worse that can happen is ending with an extra-large batch of wine vinegar.
How soon can I drink my homemade wine?
Most white wines are ready to drink soon after the fermentation process is finished. Of course, red wine benefits from aging, so you can expect to be able to enjoy your wine anywhere between two and four months after fermentation has finished. Every wine style is different, though.
Conclusion – Start Making Wine Today!
Making wine is fun, even if you don’t get it right the first time. Of course, to make wine, you must know all about it, including the many styles produced worldwide. Making wine is telling a story, one that people enjoy with all their senses.
The best part? Making wine, or any fermented beverage for that matter, is easier than you think, and to start, you don’t need more than a few containers. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll find your calling in winemaking! Making fine wine has its secrets, but practice makes perfect! Why not try it?