Recently I was able to sit down with the Author of Beyond Barolo & Brunello: Italy’s Most IMG_0840Distinctive Wines. Tom Hyland, an inspiring man who has visited the beautiful wine regions of Italy over 50 times. Tom took the time to meet me and share his amazing stories. He is a phenomenal photographer who has had photos featured in the Sommelier Journal and also in his book, where you will notice beautiful Italian landscapes.

Photo by Kjell Karlsson.

Photo by Kjell Karlsson.

In this book, Tom takes you on a journey of Italy’s most distinctive wines and really maps out for you the vast array of grape varietals, producers, and regions.  When I received the book, I thought to myself, “Wow, this will take me quite a while to read”, but in fact, it was the complete opposite. I found myself able to read a few pages, put it down, make dinner, and pick up again very easily. It is truly such an enjoyable read!

Now, this book is not for the beginner wine lover because Tom is very detailed and has a vast wine knowledge, but if you have a love and appreciation for Italian wines, or know someone who does, this book is a great one to keep in your library. Tom explains to me, “I want to let wine lovers know about the amazing array of Italian Wines”.  He emphasizes that he doesn’t want people to fear Italian Wines since there is so much information out there that can confuse wine lovers. He wants them to embrace the Italian wine culture and enjoy it as much as he does.

Tom has the most charming spirit about him, and I learned quite a lot during our discussion. He is a simple man who really loves what he does and enjoys life to the fullest. We discussed the cuisine of Italy and how there is nothing like it and how the producers, vineyard owners, and everyday people in Italy are so welcoming. Having been to Italy myself a few times, we had a lot to talk about and the time just seemed to fly by. Tom reminded me of one of my Italian wine professors that I met while studying abroad, and I was able to feel a sort of deeper connection with him as he took me on a visual journey through his trips.

He plans to make more trips to Italy, and even one this month! He is willing and able to constantly learn and explore which is what I admire so much about him, and envy at the same time. I hope to travel the wine regions like him one day; heck I already made it through Germany, France, and Switzerland and saw the vineyards, next, it’s time for Italy!

Beyond Barolo & Brunello: Italy’s Most Distinctive Wines can be found on and it absolutely worth the buy. You can also hear him lecture at the Simply Italian Great Wines U.S. Tour in Chicago! Check out his book… I couldn’t put it down and neither will you!