Vine + Table: Wine Reads

Vine + Table: Wine Reads

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As a wine lover, I’m forever fascinated by the wisdom of wine professionals. Individuals who – while blindfolded – can taste a glass of wine and tell you where it comes from, what grapes were used, and by what method it was made. The level of time, money and dedication these individuals have invested in the name of wine is absolutely incredible. 


Needless to say, when time arrived to dive deeper into the wonderful world of wine and its many facets, including laws, politics, science, chemistry, geography, history and business of wine– I knew exactly who to turn to for advice – two of my favorite Cincinnati wine professionals – Kathy Merchant, CEO of Greater Cincinnati Foundation and partner in the up and coming 1215, OTRs newest coffee and wine bar. And, also, Mr. Kevin Hart, of Boca Restaurant Group. Each has inspired me with their vast knowledge, intense study and hands-on approach to wine education. Over the years, they’ve recommended some of my favorite books on the topic, which I’m honored to share with you. Whether you are a wine novice or a master sommelier, you can’t go wrong with any of the following books on wine.

 092611FOODa.jpg On My Bookshelf – Early adapter:

Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, by Kevin Zraly– (first educational wine book I invested in at the recommendation of Kevin Hart – The best book to learn about wine.)
Opus Vino– a gift by dear friends, Cassie Scovanner and Lisa Christensen Mayer for my birthday this past year. A review from Wine Enthusiast on says, "Maps, colorful photos and in depth profiles of over 4,500 individual wineries around the world comprise this must have book for the wine explorer."Here is a great video about the book on


092611FOODb.jpgKathy’s Library – Wine Educator:
Oxford Companion to Wine edited by Jancis Robinson is considered to be the best, most comprehensive resource for wine professionals. It is available in hard copy or online via subscription to Purple Pages, which is Robinson’s website.
The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is more than a decade old, but remains quite relevant.
• For travel, Kathy uses Vino Italiano by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch.
• Best book on New Zealand is the Wine Atlas by Michael Cooper.
• Best book on Australia is the Wine Atlas by James Halladay.
• Books on France are generally divided by region, because, as Kathy suggests, there is simply too much to cover as an entire country. A great reference on Bordeaux is the 1855 Classification history by Dewey Markham.
• If you are looking for prolific authors on wine– Kathy suggests reading anything by Jancis Robinson, Oz Clarke, Clive Coates (specialist in Burgundy), Andrew Jefford, Hugh Johnson, Steven Spurrier.
• Kathy’s go-to-magazines are Decanter and Wine Advocate (Robert Parker) and Wine Enthusiast.

About Kathy Merchant, Wine Consultant: Since 1994 wine has been a focal point for Kathy’s explorations of the world. In January 2011 she completed the Level 4 Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, prerequisite for the Master of Wine, and was admitted to the Institute of Wine & Spirits. She is a regular contributor to the Food + Wine section of Venue Magazine and presents occasional wine tasting events in Cincinnati and other parts of the U.S. In February 2012 she will lead wine tours in Tuscany where guests will stay at The Villas of Monteverdi locally owned by the Cioffi family. As President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Kathy combines her shared passion for wine and philanthropy, where place matters for both, through education, events, travel and writing.092611FOODd.jpg

Kevin’s Collection – Industry Expert:

Secrets of Sommeliers – Rajat Parr.
Lessons in Wine Service from Charlie Trotter.
The Wine Lover’s Companion, by Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst
The New France: A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine, by Andrew Jefford and Jason Lowe.
The World Atlas of Wine, by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson
Sales and Service for the Wine Professional, by Brian K. Julyan
A16:Food + Wine cook book, by Shelley Lindgren, "has an incredible southern Italian wine section", says Hart.

If all of these wine reads make you thirsty for more, treat yourself to dinner at Boca Restaurant in Oakley where Kevin Hart will dazzle you with his passion for pairing luscious food and a fine selection of over 5,000 bottles of wine.