Seven books to gift wine enthusiasts

By Sarah Petty

16 Nov, 2021

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve found the newest wine and beverage-inspired books to either pop under the Christmas tree or to treat yourself.

1. Grenache, Barossa Grown

By Brett Hayes and Steve Leszczynski 

Discover the jewel of the Barossa Valley in Brett Hayes and Steve Leszczynski’s comprehensive guide to everything grenache, including ageing, food matching and more. Grenache is the foundation variety of the region’s renowned fortifieds and dry reds, especially GSMs. Proprietor of Hayes Family Wines Brett Hayes tends to his beloved vineyard harvesting grenache, shiraz and mataro, farming eight individual grenache blocks that span across Barossa’s north, west and south. Sharing Brett’s love for grenache is owner and editor of Steve Leszczynski, who says this variety is his favourite as it offers many perspectives of light and shade.

RRP: $20 (Hayes Family Wines Barossa Valley)

2. Beggars Belief, Stories from Gerald’s Bar

By Gerald Diffey with Max Allen 

Chuckle along with Gerald Diffey as he recounts stories from his 40 years of service, memories of food and family, and other tales from his abundant life. Beginning his career waiting tables in English hotels, Gerald has since opened two of the best places in the world to eat and drink, and become a critically acclaimed restaurateur. Alongside Gerald, wine writer Max Allen co-authored the novel, bringing his almost 30 years in the industry to this latest release. (Ready for pre-order.)
“Sunday was the night we went to Gerald’s Bar in Carlton. What a lovely thing to do: you’ve got all these trendy new bars everywhere, and then you’ve got this proper, proper old-fashioned sort of bar,” says Heston Blumenthal.  

 RRP: $32.40 (Booktopia)

3. We Were Not Men

By Campbell Mattinson 

Former member of the Halliday tasting team, Campbell Mattinson grapples with the difference between getting older and growing up in his powerhouse novel. We Were Not Men is Campbell’s first novel where he takes a step away from his past work, such as his 2006 biography of winemaker Maurice O’Shea, The Wine Hunter, and his website, The Winefront. The protagonists Jon and Eden Hardacre navigate the challenges that come with love triangles, tragedies and brotherhood as they mature, as well as a need for deeper and richer lives and love. Get carried away in this masterpiece.
“A gut-punching, soul-restoring exploration of brotherhood and human bonds that bend but do not break. You’ll dive in at the deep end and you won’t want to stop swimming in Campbell Mattinson’s words,” says Trent Dalton.  

 RRP: $26.90 (Booktopia)

wine book covers

4. 2022 Halliday Pocket Wine Companion

By Halliday Wine Companion

The latest release of the Halliday Wine Companion mini annual guide distils the best of the best wines by value and ratings across the country’s key wine regions. In this compact and easy-to-navigate pocketbook, we’ve picked only the wineries and wines with special value ratings from the 2022 Companion. Learn from some of Australia’s most respected wine critics on the Halliday tasting team as they provides their insights, tasting notes, ratings and advice – the perfect gift for both the wine newcomer and enthusiast. 
RRP: $22.99 

5. The Cocktail Seminars

By Brian D. Hoefling 

Nearing the end of his senior year at Yale University, Brian D. Hoefling realised that none of his friends and fellow students understood how to create delicious cocktails. This is how The Cocktail Seminars came to fruition, with Brian drawing from his cocktail teaching and writing experience to conduct five seminars. Each seminar is dedicated towards his belief that every cocktail is created around a modified base spirit, whether it’s sweetening, soured, bittered or otherwise. Made up of 30 cocktail recipes, set a challenge for your New Year’s bucket list and see if you can master these take-home cocktail classes.
"His unique philosophy departs from the template approach to mixology, using simple diagrams to illustrate how the components and techniques of a particular cocktail transform the canvas of a base spirit into a painting. And Hoefling deftly weaves the vital history of the cocktail into each chapter," says Lauren Clark, author of Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day

RRP: $44.50 (Booktopia)

6. Stalin’s Wine Cellar

By John Baker and Nick Place 

Renowned in the ’90s as a top purveyor of fine, rare and old wines, John Baker takes readers on an adventure of a lifetime after discovering Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia’s catalogue of his wine collection. After falling under the authority of Josef Stalin’s state following the 1918 Russian Revolution, which led to the execution of Nicholas II and his entire family, it has been rumoured the collection was moved and hidden underground in a remote Georgian winery. The authors set off on an adventure to see if this collection really does still exist. 
RRP: $20.25 (Booktopia)


7. Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

By Edward Slingerland 

In Edward Slingerland’s entertaining yet poignant book Drunk unpacks why humans are so in love with alcohol. While deep diving into one of humankind’s oldest vices, Edward works in tandem to show both the benefits and hazards of alcohol. He draws on evidence from history, neuroscience, literature and genetics to debunk why alcohol intoxicants are not the product of an evolutionary mistake, but rather how they can help solve human challenges, engage creativity, and more.
"Absorbing...Slingerland makes a compelling case that human societies have been positively shaped by alcohol,” says The Wall Street Journal  

RRP: $46.50 (Booktopia)