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After spending a week in Napa Valley, Calif., for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium, my reading and writing juices are in overdrive. Guests at the annual event included many of my favorite wine writers – Frank Prial and Eric Asimov of The New York Times, Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, and Bottle Shock screenwriter Ross Schwartz – to name a few.

The theme of this year’s symposium was “Telling the Authentic Story,” which reiterates the unspoken pledge of journalists.

The following, instead of wine suggestions, are some of the stories from those attending the symposium. These are books I have read several times and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Wine Across AmericaWine Across America: A Photographic Road Trip with photographs by Charles O’Rear and text by Daphne Larkin (Ten Speed Press). For the first time in history, America has wineries in all 50 states. Husband and wife authors O’Rear and Larkin traveled 80,000 miles during their two-year journey visiting wineries across the country, from state-of-the-art wineries to back-road producers. This book features amazing photography, including spectacular photographs of Cowie Wine Cellars in Paris, Ark. A must-have for any wine lover’s coffee table.

DecantationsDecantations: Reflections on Wine by Frank J. Prial (St. Martin’s Press). This collection of Prial’s wine columns from the Times spanning 25 years is accessible reading for all of us looking for that book to read over and over again.

Emperor of WineThe Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste by Elin McCoy (Harper Perennial). McCoy is the wine and spirits columnist for Bloomberg Markets, and her voice gives this book a fascinating and authoritativeinsider’s look at Parker, the influential wine critic who founded The Wine Advocate.


Taste A Life in WineTaste: A Life in Wine by Anthony Terlato (Agate Surrey)

Hugh Johnson A Life UncorkedHugh Johnson: A Life Uncorked by Hugh Johnson (University of California Press)

Anything But ChardonnayAnything But Chardonnay: A Guide to the Other Grapes by Laura Holmes Haddad (Harry N. Abrams, Inc./Stewart, Tabori and Chang)