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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Season 6 premiere: Summer reading and wine Pairings from Book + Bottle’s Terra Dunham

Books and bottles of wine on a table

A good book goes great with a drink. Here are some recommendations.

Listen to the episode

For many of us, summer is reading season. Whether you’re indulging in a beach read or delving into something meatier on a plane ride, a good book goes great with a drink.

“When I’m reading a book, I’m often drinking something,” says Terra Dunham, owner of Book + Bottle, a combination bookstore/wine bar in downtown St. Petersburg. The shop’s Readers and Drinkers Circle is a quarterly book and wine pairing subscription.

“You have a glass of wine while you’re reading. It’s a very natural activity pairing,” says Terra, who opened Book + Bottle in 2020. The shop also sells coffee, beer and snacks.

To find the perfect reading-and-wine pairing, Terra’s team usually starts with the book. She suggests finding a wine to match the book’s setting, storyline or energy.

To give you an idea, here are some of Terra’s suggested book and wine pairings for your summer reading. And if you can’t make time to read a physical book, Terra recommends listening to audiobooks on Libro.fm.

“It still counts as reading,” she says.

The book: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

The wine: Txampian Txakoli white or rosé

This romcom makes a perfect poolside or beach read, especially when accompanied by a refreshing wine. “It’s a really wonderful summer wine,” Terra says. “It’s very, very fresh in the bottle, so when you open in, you’ll even get a few little bubbles. It’s not sparkling wine by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s just that really fresh. You can serve it really cold.” She says the wine would also pair well with a beach read by Colleen Hoover.

The book: The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

The wine: Champagne Boizel

This piece of historical fiction takes place in the province of Champagne, France. “This is a great book club book,” Terra says of the book by Florida author Kristin Harmel. “It’s actually based on some real historical events about how the resistance was using these champagne cellars in caves to hide Jews during the war. … Beautiful book, very emotional.” Naturally, Terra would pair it with champagne.

The book: How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry

The wine: Chiarlo “Nivole” Moscato D’Asti

“I love food. I actually got into wine because of food, because I love to eat and I love to cook,” says Terra, who recommends thumbing through this cookbook. “It’s just so beautiful, and it’s all these menus that she’s written kind of to throw parties or get-togethers. But there’s all a story behind it. She’s just a beautiful storyteller, as well.” Terry suggests using moscato d’asti to make the cookbook’s recipe for white peaches with chilled moscato. “It’s a sweet wine—has some effervescence to it. I would not drink this with a steak. I would not drink this necessarily in the afternoon,” she says. “This is something I like to call breakfast wine. It’s a thing. We should all be a little bit more open to this idea, because it’s low alcohol.” Her favorite breakfast idea: “I personally love moscato with really salty bacon. It is very indulgent.”

The book: Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

The wine: Ochota Barrels “Texture Like Sun” Sector Red

The book is a collection of interconnected short stories that take place across South Asia. “She is just the most beautiful storyteller,” Terra says of the author. “Oprah called it ‘a marvel of magical realism.’” To accompany the book, Terra recommends alight-bodied red field blend from Australia. “It really gives a sense of place and time to the wine, because every year, the wines are going to behave differently,” she says.

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