By Cortney Roudebush
Until recently, when people discovered that I wrote a wine blog, they wanted to know when and why I started it. The idea came to me after seeing the movie Julie & Julia shortly after I moved to Napa Valley in 2009. In the movie, the main character Julie is infatuated with Julia Child and pledges to prepare every single recipe in the Julia Child’s Joy of Cooking cookbook in 365 days.
As a new Napa Valley resident, I decided to begin a similar venture in which I would visit as many Napa wineries as possible—and blog about the wines that pleased my palate.
After visiting over 250 Napa wineries (not nearly all of them), I moved to Marin, and my wine blog has since taken a backseat to my other writing, specifically my newly published novel, Where I Want to Be.
Now, I am often asked how long it took me to finish the book and what inspired it. Three words: my wine blog.
After going on a particularly bad blind date, I sat down at my computer to write about it. The guy had posted old photographs to his Match.com account and embellished his profile and managed to talk the entire time about himself, but I somehow managed to enjoy the glass of wine I ordered. So I blogged about it. As I wrapped up the post, I realized it was quite a funny story. And I had a few more bad date stories like it.
Before I knew it, I was changing names, developing fictional characters, and creating new adventures about wine, dating, making new friends, and dining out.
The first installment of my Wine Country Series is told by Olivia, a thirty-one-year-old Los Angeles native who wants to learn more about wine and enrolls in a summertime education program in Napa Valley. Early in her wine-filled narrative, she meets Grace, who works in a Michelin-starred restaurant and is training to be a Sommelier, Charlie, a female winemaker and redheaded vixen, and McKayla, a wine journalist and social media strategist. In addition to attending classes, Olivia’s new friends take her to industry parties, tasting rooms, and awesome Napa Valley restaurants.
Real wineries and a small dose of wine education are sprinkled throughout the novel—it can be enjoyed by wine novices and aficionados alike. Wines like Honig Sauvignon Blanc, Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Ehlers Estate Merlot, and J Winery Brut Rosé are quaffed by the characters (and a few of my personal favorites).
For more information and upcoming book signing events in the Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay Area, please visit authorcortney.com. Cheers!