HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Because it is just us, I can tell you this. I was on book tour, and my face started going crazy. No one would have noticed, but I did. I figured it was maybe an allergy to the cleaning stuff on hotel sheets, or something. But the doctor said I should have an allergy test.
Okay, I said, as if I had some control over the universe. But listen, I said. I better not be allergic to wine.
I turned out not to be. Hurray. And it’s still a mystery.
But! I am so happy to welcome the fabulous Nadine Nettman today. Because she is talking about one of my--and I can tell you because it’s just us—favorite things. (And sisters? It ain’t camping.)
When, my Mom died, each of us kids go part of the wine cellar. Some examples.
Among other things, I got this,
Are they still good, Nadine? Or is it too late?
Nadine knows. And here's why.
Camping Through Wine Country
Thank you, Hank and the Jungle Red Writers, for having me on your blog!
My debut novel, DECANTING A MURDER, released in May and I’ve frequently been asked, “What is your favorite wine? Is it in the book?” Every chapter is paired with a wine, which means there are thirty-two possibilities that one is my favorite.
But may I say that I love them all?
Let me explain. Every bottle of wine has a story behind it.
From the history of the winery and the location of the vineyards to the type of soil around the vines and the way the sun shines on the grapes and how the night air cools them. And that’s just the beginning. Then it’s harvest time when the grapes are gently plucked from their vines and pressed, fermented, and aged until the wine is ready to be bottled.
When I pour a glass of wine, I think of the time it took to create it and the elements involved. So many factors play a role in forming the magic that becomes a bottle of wine to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed.
I’m fortunate to write about something I love but just how much do I love wine and the story behind each bottle? I camped in a Toyota Previa for over a month in order to visit every wine region in France.
Yes, you read that right. I camped in a van for over a month and I’m not exactly a fan of camping to begin with.
When I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to visit all the wine regions in France, we researched the best way to do it all in one trip. Planes and trains didn’t go everywhere we wanted to visit and hotel prices can quickly add up. The best solution? Rent a car and drive through the wine regions. Oh, and sleep in the car too.
HANK: Ah. Not quite sure I would have done this….but it is France…
NADINE: I wasn’t thrilled with the idea at first, but I wanted to see the regions so off we went.
For four and half weeks, my husband and I lived in a minivan, which had seats that folded into a bed, as we toured every wine region in France. We drank Champagne in Champagne, Bordeaux in Bordeaux, Chablis in Chablis, and even Cognac in Cognac. We also had some mishaps such as GPS sending us into a field of cows and an incident that matched our tire with a curb (the tire lost) that led to an all day, multi-store search for a new tire.
With every region we visited, I appreciated the history of wine even more. The sight of vineyards filled me with joy and I found myself wanting to know the story behind every single bottle. It’s something my character, Katie Stillwell, and I have in common.
Although DECANTING A MURDER is set in Napa Valley and the second book in the series, UNCORKING A LIE, takes place in Sonoma, elements from my journey have made their way into the books. From the references to France or the fact that Katie’s uncle owns a French winery to the way the light reflects on the vineyards in the early morning. At the time, I didn’t know it was research for my novels but it’s a thrill to relive those moments of magic, even if it’s just having Katie walk by a vineyard.
And as for my favorite wine, although I love them all, I’m currently enjoying cool glasses of Riesling and Pinot Grigio during this hot summer.
What is your favorite wine? I’d love to hear!
HANK: And I will happily offer a copy of DECANTING A MURDER to one lucky commenter! Salut!
(And here are our favorites this summer—
I’m very fond of rose’, but at heart, I’m a red wine girl. (Nadine, are these okay?))
Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has visited wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany, and every region in France. When she's not visiting vineyards or dreaming up new mysteries, her travel articles have appeared in AAA Hawaii, New Mexico Journey, Modern Luxury Hawaii, and Inspirato. She lives in California with her husband.
Katie Stillwell focuses on two things in her life: work and practicing for Sommelier Certification with her blind tasting group. The exam was supposed to be the hardest part of her week, but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party.
When all the evidence points to Katie’s best friend, the outspoken and independent Tessa, Katie drops everything to clear Tessa’s name. Using her deductive wine skills, she tries to track down the real killer. But when repeated attempts are made on her life, Katie discovers that everyone’s secrets must be uncovered—including her own.