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5 Wine-Infused Beach Reads to Finish Off Summer

Warning: These page-turners may lead to impulse bottle purchases

Janice Williams By August 26, 2021
photo of book and wine glass in sand at a beach
Photo illustration by Allison Kahler.

It’s true — summer is winding down. However, there is still a bit of time to enjoy good wine at the beach. And by enjoying wine, we mean flipping through the pages of a thrilling fictional tale in which wine has a starring role. There are a number of good books capable of leading you down an adventurous path through vineyards and cellars and wine countries. The best part of it all? You can experience these rich wine journeys all from the comfort of your beach blanket. 

5 wine fiction novels to read:

book cover of The Summer Job

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent (2021)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in your best friend’s shoes? Or better yet, live your best friend’s life? Birdy Finch will soon find out when she pretends to be her best friend. Of course, Finch bites off more than she can chew when she accepts a job at a luxurious Scottish hotel as the resident wine expert, in the guise of her Heather, a real wine professional. Then there’s the matter of the handsome man Birdie has fallen for who thinks she’s really a professional wine connoisseur. Be prepared for bottles to break as Birdy discovers more about herself while pretending to be someone else.

book cover image of Root Cause

Root Cause by Steven Laine (2019)

If you’re looking for a little international espionage set amongst the vines, look no further than Steven Laine’s third novel. Corvina Guerra is ready to kickstart her lifelong dream of reviving her family’s vineyard in her native Italy. But when she arrives, she finds something truly terrible: Phylloxera, the destructive plant louse that devastated Europe’s wine industry over 100 years ago, is wreaking havoc on her vines. With the help of her friend Brian, Corvina sets out on an investigation that leads to Universal Wines — a company that is as menacingly capitalistic as it sounds. But is Universal Wines truly to blame for the infestation? Corvina’s trek to find the truth, and stop the vine plague from spreading, will take her on a journey much bigger than her winemaker dreams could have ever imagined.

book cover image of Bruno, Chief of Police

Bruno, Chief of Police: A Mystery of the French Countryside by Martin Walker (2010)

This is the first in Martin Walker’s 14-book series following the hardcore wine enthusiast Benoît Courrèges, otherwise known as Bruno, the police chief of a small village in the south of France. Formerly, he carried out deadly missions for the French army. Now, the ex-soldier enjoys spending his time indulging in life’s simple and quiet pleasures, like drinking delicious vintages and lazing the day away in the countryside. But after a dead body pops up, he’s forced to investigate the murder, along with a Parisian policewoman. Initially, Bruno is under the impression that anti-immigrant militants are behind the crime, but as the investigation continues, he unlocks a dangerous plot bigger than he expected.

book cover image of A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (2011)

Witches, vampires, alchemy, romance, and wine come together in the first book of Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls series. The story follows Diana Bishop, a history of science professor who has long suppressed her magical roots. However, her bewitching past becomes a fixture of her present after she finds a lost manuscript at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. The discovery reignites the magic running through her veins, but it also puts her at great risk. There are many others who want the so-called Book of Life, and they’ll kill to get it. Enter Matthew Clairmont, a charming, wine-loving vampire who has spent more than 150 years in search of the book. Expect the sparks to fly when the characters connect and inevitably set forth on a thrilling adventure to keep the Book of Life and all the magical things hiding in plain sight safe from the dark forces against them. 

book cover image of The Lost Vintage

The Lost Vintage: A Novel by Ann Mah (2018)

A family history muddled with mystery? Check. War? Check. Long lost love, reunited? Double-check. Ann Mah’s latest novel follows the story of Kate, a world-class sommelier-in-the-making who is desperate to pass the Master of Wine examination. She’s already failed twice, and if she can’t pass the test on the third try then she can kiss those certified wine expert dreams goodbye. Attempt to focus on her studies leads Kate to her ancestral vineyard in Burgundy where she not only encounters her first love — the talented, young winemaker Jean-Luc — but she also finds a lost diary belonging to an unknown relative. Kate begins a deep dive into her family’s history during World War II, on a roller-coaster ride to figure out what happened to her newfound family members: whose side were they on during the war, and what did they do with the six bottles of wine missing from the family’s extensive collection? Plus, there’s that terrifying exam to prepare for.