Reading well-written books about wine is the next-best thing to drinking it.

Share story

IF IT IS TRUE that in wine there is truth (“in vino veritas”), then well-written wine books are the next best thing to enjoying a glass of malbec.

Buying holiday gifts for wine lovers can be tricky because we kind of like to pick out our own wines (unless it’s a bottle of Château Margaux). Wine gadgets? Most of the time, they end up in the bottom of a drawer with that avocado slicer you also thought was a fine idea.

But books! We love to drink up knowledge almost as much as the wines behind the stories.

Here are five new books for the wine lovers on your list. (And if you are the wine lover, then stick this conveniently at eye level on the refrigerator.)

“Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine,” by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, $25

Two Seattle wine bloggers have turned their popular and highly visual website into a book. It is loaded with delicious graphics, terrific information and easily digestible statistics. Are you a wine novice? You’ll love this book. A wine expert? You’ll love this book.

“Vintage,” by David Baker, $25

Documentary filmmaker David Baker (“American Wine Story”) published his first novel this fall, and it is positively delightful. Bruno Tannenbaum is the deeply flawed protagonist, an author with a decades-old case of writer’s block who is on the trail of a legendary bottle of wine stolen 70 years earlier by Nazis as they fled Burgundy and the rest of France.

“The History of Wine in 100 Bottles,” by Oz Clarke, $25

Prolific British wine writer Oz Clarke tells a history of wine in a most unusual and enchanting way: through the stories of 100 bottles of wine. Along the way, we learn about the invention of glass bottles, corks (natural and otherwise) and the appellation system. Clarke circles the globe, finding the most expensive wines, the highest-elevation vineyards and the most remote wine regions in the world.

“American Wine: A Coming-of-Age Story,” by Tom Acitelli, $30

Europeans have been making wine for centuries, while the United States has been making serious wine for about 50 years. So how have we come so far so quickly? Just a half-century ago, the American wine industry was a mess, built primarily on sweet, high-alcohol, skid-row wines. Today, we make some of the world’s finest and have zoomed up the list of biggest wine-producing countries. Oh, and now we drink more wine than any country on Earth.

“The Book of Wine,” by Jackson Meyer, $16

Learning about wine can be intimidating. Wine shops carry hundreds of different bottles, and some of the most famous authors write thick, dense books as a way to dispense their vast knowledge. Jackson Meyer distills the information into easily digestible nuggets and writes with the thought that a little knowledge will go a long way. Meyer packs loads of information about the world of wine, etiquette and more into a compact book.