Seven cockle-warming book and wine matches

Nikki Michaels
By Nikki Michaels
about 5 years ago
5 min read

If anything shouts ‘cosy’ and ‘autumn’ louder than reading a good book while drinking a killer wine, then we must’ve been covering our ears — because we sure haven’t heard it. To welcome the new season, we’ve paired a few new literary releases with delicious wines for twosomes you’re sure to fall for. Here we go.

Malbec's motherland

Read Motherland by Lauren Beukes. Drink malbec.

Dystopia in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale? Check. Heart-pounding suspense? Check. A cult favourite author? Check.

In South African novelist Lauren Beukes’s Motherland, America’s male population has been nearly wiped out by a virus, and our female protagonist has committed the two greatest crimes one can: hiding a healthy man (her young son Miles), and killing one. Twisty, turny, and surprising, this timely read is a little bit sci-fi, a little bit psychological thriller, a little bit family drama, and a lot delicious with an appropriately dark and deep malbec.

The pinot trust exercise 

Read Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. Drink pinot noir.

Each year, you have a handful of books that make appearances on every single ‘Most Anticipated’ list in the biz. In 2019, one of those gems is Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise — a romance cloaked in an ingenious narrative structure that will have you frantically turning pages until the very end.

Set in an elite arts school, Trust Exercise tells the (love) story of high school students David and Sarah in a time-bending, mind-bending style that defies genre or categorisation, and we’re thinking that’s a damn good match with something equally ephemeral and existential. Something you have to take a leap on. Something like a pinot noir. Something like this.

Canoe down cabernet river

Read The River by Peter Heller. Drink cabernet sauvignon.

Out on May 14, Peter Heller’s thriller, The River, charts the life-changing journey of two uni students who decide to canoe the length of a river in Canada. The leisurely, bucolic trip they anticipated hits a snag when a wildfire starts up behind them, but what happens next — involving an injured woman and the person who hurt her — is where the water really starts churning.

As for the wine, we recommend going the reassuring route with something juicy and structured but easy-drinking like this criminal smoothness. Just make sure the speed of your sipping lags a bit behind that of your reading, because we can pretty much guarantee you won’t want to put The River down.

Explosive reads and reds 

Read Sing to It by Amy Hempel. Drink something weird and wonderful.

Though smaller pieces of hers have popped up in literary journals, acclaimed author Amy Hempel hasn’t published an actual collection or novel in over a decade — which makes Sing to It a pretty big deal. These masterful short stories, which cover everything from dog shelters to affairs to adoption, are beautiful and haunting and will stick with you for years to come.

If Sing to It is your first foray into the world of short fiction, then we’ve got a novel idea for you: pair it with something you’ve also never tried before! Anything weird and wonderful that piques your interest would work here, but we’re willing to bet you’ve never had anything like this Etna Rosso before.

Pure illumination

Read Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T. Kira Madden. Drink riesling.

In Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, T. Kira Madden tells of her childhood as a biracial woman in the American South. It’s a coming-of-age memoir that explores growing up queer amidst extraordinary wealth and privilege; the trauma of being raised by parents with addiction; and the grief of losing a parent. 

It’s honest and illuminating and pure, and we think it’d make a great partner for a clean, vibrant riesling.

Full-bore: folklore x shiraz

Read Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi. Drink shiraz.

A Helen Oyeyemi release typically sends the literary world into a bit of a frenzy. The prolific author of favourites such as Mr. Fox, White Is for Witching, and Boy, Snow, Bird, Oyeyemi writes magical realism, folklore, and fantasy in — what else can we call it? — an utterly bewitching manner.

Her latest work, Gingerbread, is inspired by the myriad mentions of gingerbread in fairytales and children’s stories. It’s imaginative, spellbinding, layered, and rich, which sounds to us like a classic Aussie shiraz. At Mofo HQ we’re reaching for The General.

Our new crush

Read Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk. Drink rosé.

This isn’t exactly a new release (it flew onto the scene in January 2018), but we’ve just launched our very first project with Gary (more on that below!) — so we had to include it. This startup-focussed nonfiction, written by the extraordinarily successful wine critic-turned-businessman, explores the ins and outs of using every major social media platform to build your own personal brand, which Gary believes is the key to entrepreneurial success. By offering advice from other entrepreneurs and influencers and pro tips on how to leverage mainstays such as Facebook and Instagram as well as up-and-coming channels, Gary gives you the tools necessary to thrive in both your personal and business lives.

As for the wine pairing? No better beverage to sip on while reading Gary’s book than Gary’s wine. As the exclusive partner of Gary’s new direct-to-consumer brand Empathy Wines, we highly recommend you grab yourself a case of Empathy Rosé before they’re all gone.

Happy reading and sipping, mofos!

Hey Kids!

Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an offence:

  • to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (penalty exceeds $17,000).
  • for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (penalty exceeds $700)

Liquor Licence No. 36300937


At Vinomofo, we love our wine, but we like to also lead long and happy lives, and be good to the world and the people in it. We all try to drink responsibly, in moderation, and we really hope you do too.

Don’t be that person…

Acknowledgement of Country

Vinomofo acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continued connection to the land and waters of this country.

We acknowledge this place always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.