Looking for inspiration? Here are the best things to read, watch and listen to for wine lovers. We’ve picked out some of the top wine-related books, TV shows, podcasts and more for your enjoyment!
Wine Witch on Fire
Or to give it its full title, Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation and Drinking Too Much. It’s an honest memoir, written by award-winning US wine writer Natalie MacLean, charting how she overcame struggles in her life, personal and professional. She gives an insight into what it’s like to work as a woman in the male-dominated wine industry, and recommends some of her favourite wines along the way. It’s honest, raw and inspirational.
Available through Amazon UK
The World in a Wineglass
Written in US wine editor Ray Isle’s usual engaging style, this guide sets out to help readers choose more delicious, interesting and environmentally friendly wines that won’t
break the bank. After outlining how organic/biodynamic/ sustainable/ regenerative wines are made, and why it matters, Isle introduces his favourite independent wineries around the world who ‘work in ways that benefit the planet, rather than screw it up’.
Available through Amazon UK
You might not be able to afford the top wines, but you can still read about them. Published in October 2023, this anthology of 59 wine tales endeavours to capture the essence of the region’s two main grapes, its terroirs and its special bottles. Contributors include Decanter’s Andrew Jefford, Allen Meadows, Eric Asimov and Aubert de Villaine. Many will no doubt turn straight to the essay on ‘Can Good Burgundy ever be for Normal People?’
Available through Académie du Vin Library
Vintage Crime: A Short History of Wine Fraud
Since ancient times the wine world has been plagued by criminals keen to make a fast buck, whether through ‘amelioration, adulteration or deception’. Rebecca Gibb
MW takes a romp through a history of wine crime – from the days of Imperial Rome to 21st-century New York – told chronologically through 10 wine frauds. Meet the fraudsters and their victims, the merchants, producers and collectors, in this entertaining and illuminating read.
Available through Amazon UK
Book in: Club Soda’s tailored tastings
Mindful drinking specialist Club Soda is running tailored tastings at its London shop, to help individuals or groups identify the best no/low-alcohol drinks for their needs and tastes. The sessions, which are popular especially with those looking to moderate their alcohol intake, start with a questionnaire, then offer the opportunity to taste typically around 15 alternatives to wine, spirits and/or beer. Sessions cost £30pp (including £5 voucher towards a purchase), and last about an hour.
Streaming in the US on the Tastemade channel, and produced in partnership with Constellation Brands, Street Somm features hip-hop entrepreneur and self-taught wine
expert Jermaine Stone, as he explores six culinary hubs across the US – from New York to San Francisco – with numerous stops in between. Each episode sees Stone pair up
with a different food expert, and highlights signature dishes, unexpected wine pairings and the stories behind both.
The Mega Trade
Wine educator Sam Povey set himself a challenge this summer: to trade his way, with his followers on social media, from a bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz all the way up to a bottle
of one of the world’s most expensive wines, Domaine de la Romanée Conti’s Romanée Conti. It’s all taking place on his entertaining and informative @sampovey.wine Instagram page. As Decanter‘s November issue went to press, he had worked his way up to Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay, Bâtard-Montrachet GC 2018.
Hosted by Master Sommelier Stefan Neumann, this online video course is aimed at anyone sitting wine exams that involve blind tasting, but will be useful to any wine lover looking to hone their skills. Fifty bite-sized videos lasting three hours in total are divided into nine modules, covering not only how to identify grape variety, region and vintage blind, but also how to sharpen your senses, build a taste profile and expand your vocabulary.
This three-part online series features conservations with winemakers, thinkers and innovators in the wine sphere. Hosted by Michelle Bouffard, a Canadian sommelier, wine educator, journalist and founder of the Tasting Climate Change conference, the first episode (live now) sees her chat to South African winemaker Andrea Mullineux. Further episodes will air on 11 October and 6 December. Free to Wine Scholar Guild members; non-members can enjoy one free replay.
Alcohol, wine and health podcasts
Search for ‘Professor David Nutt’ wherever you look for your podcasts, and you’ll find many individual episodes of different series featuring the neuropsychopharmacologist and former UK Government advisor. He details the science of alcohol consumption in a fascinating way. Meanwhile, over at Wine Blast (S4, E13) Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW talk to Professor Tim Spector about wine and the microbiome, highlighting how red wine drunk in moderation can boost gut health.
What’s it like being the editor of Decanter magazine? Find out in a special 30-minute ‘Careers in Wine’ episode of Italian sommelier Mattia Scarpazza’s Looking Into Wine podcast. The interview with Amy Wislocki, who has been at the helm of the magazine for 23 years, touches on topics such as how Decanter has changed during that time, how to succeed as a wine writer, and how the magazine coped during the pandemic.
The founder of this twice-monthly podcast, Sarah Kemp, was publisher and managing director of Decanter for more than 25 years, making her one of the most well-connected people in the wine world. The Wine Conversation features in-depth conversations with leading figures in wine alongside monthly Omnibus, magazine-style episodes, which cover wine news and expert views in an engaging, and consumer-friendly fashion.
Each week, certified sommelier Sarah Roth covers a different wine topic aimed at helping wine lovers feel more confident. In this episode, she interviews Matt Walls, Decanter’s Rhône correspondent and author of Wines of the Rhône. Walls gives an overview of the Rhône valley, explaining just why the wines from the north and south are so different, and shares the top things you need to know about this region. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, other major podcast apps; also available via YouTube.