I thought that book groups got together to have a good meal and wine, relax and discuss interesting books with friends. This turned out to be only partially true. Yes, they are intellectually stimulating. No, they do not guarantee a hot meal or an interesting wine, especially not on a Monday night.
Book groups are congenial. They provide adult time away from the kids. They strengthen social connections. Rarely, though, do book group members admit that it’s a great environment to hyperventilate.
A simple solution for a group of 8-12 talkative folks is Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris – all light-bodied, a mix of red and white, and easy to find.
But it would be more interesting to coordinate the wine with the book being discussed. Choose a wine from the country where the author comes from or where the book takes place. Honor your authors from South Africa with Chenin Blanc or Pinotage, England with Seyval Blanc or Reichensteiner, Portugal with Vinho Verde, Austria with Grüner Veltliner.
Or, coordinate the book with the personality of the wine. If you’re reading a moody novel, drink Nebbiolo from Piemonte. If you’re reading a travelogue, sip a rosé. For memoirs, native wines. For a classic novel, claret.
If you read all 457 pages of a novel, highlighted passages and took time out of your busy schedule to meet with a group of people, you probably want something better to eat and drink than dips, cold pasta salads and nondescript wines. Take it up a notch. Your group will be rewarded.