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Books On Wine, The 2020 Edition: Suggestions For Reading And Gifting This Season

Three books. Three authors. Three questions.

That’s the strategy for today’s second post in this end-of-year series about wine books published in 2020. (The first post, about a book on women winemakers and their personal odysseys, ran a few weeks ago.) The three books in the spotlight today vary widely in narrative and scope but I’d like to focus on their commonality of intention: Why did the authors write their particular book, and why did they write it now?

Obviously the books were in the works well before COVID began wreaking havoc on the wine industry this year both commercially and personally, so I was curious for the authors’ perspectives now that their book has been released during this particularly challenging time. What can the books, and their authors’ points of view, offer to wine enthusiasts as we wrap up 2020?

Here are highlights from the responses I heard from Jane Anson, author of Inside Bordeaux; Laura Catena, author of Gold in the Vineyards: Illustrated Stories of the World’s Most Celebrated Vineyards; and Jim Clarke, author of The Wines of South Africa.

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Why This book? And Why Now?

Now more than ever, Catena said, “we need to find ways to bring fantasy, wanderlust and foreign destinations into our homes.” She hopes that Gold in the Vineyards (which is the second book she’s published, following Vino Argentino in 2011) will allow readers to dream and fantasize. By presenting the behind-the-scenes of the most famous wines in the world, both in prose and illustration, Catena aims to capture all the romance in a better way. “It’s a book to be enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand,” she said.

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