As it turns out, I’m kind of falling in love with my own idea — writing romance fiction about wine. I realize that I’m not the first to do it, but to be honest, I’m surprised that there isn’t more of it out there! There is a series set in Napa… and I do realize that Napa is probably the best known American wine region, but there are so many other amazing places making wine… good wine now! So in my mind, they’re ripe for making good romance, too.
After all, wine is nothing if not romantic… So it is surprising to me that there aren’t thousands of romances — or heck, fiction in general — set in the fantastically interesting world of winemaking. Think about a winery might offer in the way of plot points alone — you could have a family struggling to make ends meet, working to save the winery (not all wineries are dragging in the dollars by the tractorload…); you could have an evil competitor, striving to ruin the next bottling of the more successful vintner; you could set the wheels of phylloxera in motion, ruining an entire harvest! (okay, maybe that’s too wine techie, but you know where I’m headed.)
Wine itself is a character in so many ways – it’s a living and ever-changing thing, captured in a bottle. Have you ever noticed how a bottle of wine tastes completely different from the moment you open it to the moment you pour the last drop? Whether you drink it over the course of a couple days or — who am I kidding? — a couple hours. The compounds in wine never stop interacting with their environment, and are constantly morphing into new versions of themselves… just like the characters in the best books!
And let’s face it, wineries themselves are pretty sexy. You’ve got cavernous cellars with huge barrels left to age… hardworking passionate people slaving over crushers and tanks, mixing and blending in barns and outbuildings surrounded by vineyards… You’ve got the fancy visitor-friendly tasting rooms set in sprawling estates (or not-so-sprawling if you don’t happen to be in Napa or Sonoma, the “Hollywood” of wine tasting.)
I guess the world of wine can seem intimidating, which might put some writers off. I have a slight advantage since I used to sell wine, and was a wine writer for a couple magazines and blogs before heading into fiction (you won’t find my credits…you’re not surprised to know that Delancey is a pen name, are you? (; ) I just think that there’s a great opportunity to share my love for wine in my writing in this way, and for anyone with an interest in learning about wine, it’s probably fun to learn about a particular varietal this way. Sexy man and hot romance versus dry wine book? yes please!
My book, A Rare Vintage, highlights my love of the Rhone Valley varietals — Chateauneuf du Pape specifically… and Redemption Red, which comes out late this summer focuses on Oregon’s amazing Pinot Noir.
What’s your favorite varietal?