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To learn more about wine and spirits

Profiles

To learn more about wine and spirits

Want to stay in the know about what’s happening in the world of wine and spirits, and take a deeper dive into this subject? Expert sommeliers and collaborators share some of their favourite resources on a myriad of topics.

Published on January 15, 2024

With all the information available on wine and spirits, it’s often hard to know which sources you can trust—or even where to start. Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, quench your thirst for knowledge by checking out these compelling suggestions.

SUGGESTED READING

Books

The Oxford Companion to Wine edited by J. Harding and J. Robinson

The most comprehensive reference on wine to date, with more than 4,000 entries—including hundreds of new ones—on a wide range of topics, from grape varieties and regions to viticulture and the history of wine, as well as updated information on climate change, sustainability and new winemaking practices. With contributions from highly knowledgeable wine region experts.

“The greatest wine book ever published!” —The Washington Post

Suggested by Hugo Duchesne, sommelier at Hoogan & Beaufort and Annette bar à vin, 2nd Best Sommelier of Canada in 2023

Regenerative Viticulture by Jamie Goode

The first book to specifically address regenerative viticulture, which applies regenerative farming techniques to vineyards to make them more sustainable. Topics covered include over-cropping, integrating animals into the vineyard, and farming soils instead of vines. Also available as an e-book. 

Suggested by Joris Gutierrez Garcia, Best Sommelier of Quebec and of Canada in 2023

Amber Revolution by Simon J. Woolf

The author, an expert on orange wine, recounts the forgotten story of this ancient wine—one of lost identity, the struggle for survival and pioneering winemakers. He profiles 180 of the best producers from 20 countries around the world and tells you everything you need to know about orange wines—from tasting and pairing them to buying and aging them.

Suggested by Marie-Hélène Boisvert, sommellerie teacher

The World Atlas of Wine by J. Robinson and H. Johnson

Considered one of the best wine reference books out there, it tours the world’s wine regions. As its name suggests, there is a heavy emphasis on geography—including the regional climates, which are colour-coded on the maps, and the impact of the vineyards’ positioning on the quality of the grapes. 

Suggested by Samuel Dubois, SAQ employee and host of “what’s trending” workshops at the ITHQ

Online magazines

Imbibe 

Timely topics from the world of drinks and innovative cocktail recipes.


Suggested by Daphné Vary Deshaies, independent bar consultant

Websites

WINO Books

A veritable treasure trove of information for wine lovers, WINO Books serves up some hard-to-find books on very specific topics or more general ones. Discover some hidden gems on the website or at the brick-and-mortar store, located in the borough of Outremont in Montreal.

“The destination of choice for any wine lover with a thirst for knowledge and compelling reads.”

- Marie-Hélène Boisvert, sommellerie teacher

Punch

Chock-full of up-to-the-minute articles (organized by beverage type!), columns and recipes (not to mention buying guides), this website is overflowing with information on what’s hot and what’s not.  

Liquor 

A great source of basic information like which type of cocktail glass to use and why, industry trends, recommendations, and boozy food and drink recipes (Bourbon Cheesecake Ice Cream with Berries, anyone?). 

Suggested by Daphné Vary Deshaies, independent bar consultant

GuildSomm

Billed as an indispensable resource for industry professionals and wine lovers alike, this website offers some articles to the general public, but most of its educational content is reserved for subscribers, who can explore the materials, deepen their knowledge and connect with other members. 

“This website is an endless source of information.”

- Joris Gutierrez Garcia, Best Sommelier of Québec and of Canada in 2023

Blog

Wine, Wit, and Wisdom

The official blog of the Society of Wine Educators (SWE), which focuses on wine and spirits education and certification (including the latest study guides and exam updates), and offers webinars and industry updates (like the new Terre d’Abruzzo IGT!).

WHAT TO LISTEN TO

Podcasts

GuildSomm

In this podcast, host and Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe invites fellow industry experts to discuss a wine-related topic and share their insights. New episodes every other week. 

Suggested by Joris Gutierrez Garcia, Best Sommelier of Québec and of Canada in 2023

I’ll drink to that!

New York-based sommelier Levi Dalton interviews everyone from cork manufacturers to sommeliers to wine producers. The range of topics is so wide, there’s something for everyone.

“They’re great interviews and he asks really good questions.”

—Joris Gutierrez Garcia, Best Sommelier of Québec and of Canada in 2023

Wine 101

Wine 101 is an educational podcast offered through the VinePair website. Each week, host Keith Beavers delves into a different facet of the world of wine to guide listeners in their personal wine journey. Episodes last about 20 minutes—just long enough to enjoy with a glass of your favourite red or white. 

WHO TO FOLLOW

“If you show a bit of interest in wine, your Instagram and Facebook account will soon be inundated with related content. I follow winemakers, agencies, and restaurant owners.”

—Samuel Dubois, SAQ employee and host of “what’s trending” workshops at the ITHQ 

WHERE TO GO

There’s nothing more enriching than talking to the people behind the products to deepen your knowledge. In addition to stimulating conversation, you’ll learn a lot. 

Visit an SAQ store to consult with an advisor or speak to the sommelier at the restaurants you dine at. You can also get answers to your questions straight from the source—the winemakers themselves—when you visit a winery or a wine trade show like the annual Grande Dégustation de Montréal.

Be sure to check out Ateliers SAQ hosted by the ITHQ, where you can choose from among some 30 classes (the majority of which are given in person, but a few are virtual) to hone your skills based on your interests. 

The spirit of knowing blog on the SAQ’s website is another excellent resource. It brings together a plethora of articles you can browse to learn more about wine and spirits.

Here's to making some refreshing discoveries!

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