We love spending October’s haunting season with a good book. Time to get cozy under your favorite blanket, open a bottle of wine, and lose yourself in a great thriller. We’ve rounded up our picks for page-turning, sip-inspiring stories that bring you the best of wine and crime. 

The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine & Secrets

Author Jan Moran | Sunny Palm Press | Explore

Napa Valley, 1956: Winemaker Caterina Rosetta and her widowed mother Ava harbor family secrets and face threats that could ruin their family winery, Mille Étoiles Vineyards. Concealing her husband’s past in Tuscany, Ava struggles to manage the vineyard, while her high-spirited, passionate daughter Caterina—a wine-blending savant—has inherited Ava’s talent for crafting wine and guarding damaging secrets.

Caterina hides a truth that could ruin her in the eyes of her mother and traditional society: An illegitimate child. The father, Santo—Caterina’s childhood best friend—abandoned her without explanation, leaving her with nowhere to turn. Devastated, Caterina journeys to their ancestral vineyard in Montalcino, Italy to claim an inheritance from her grandmother and seize the chance to start a new life. There, for the first time, she meets her unknown, extended family and discovers shocking secrets that could destroy the man she loves. Caterina realizes her happiness and the entire future of Mille Étoiles Vineyards depend on her ability to unravel the mysteries of the past—if she has the strength to face them. 

Readers will devour this page-turner as the mystery and passions spin out. VERDICT: A solid pick for fans of historical romances combined with a heartbreaking mystery.

The Library Journal

Author Jan Moran savored her research for this book and she loves conducting virtual book club events about “The Winemakers”! You can find out more here. She suggests pairing this great read with Cabernet Sauvignon or a Brunell de Montalcino. 

Murder in Chianti

Author Camilla Trinchieri | Soho Crime | Explore
Cover of Murder in Chianti by Camilla Trinchieri

Mourning the loss of his wife, Rita, former NYPD homicide detective Nico Doyle moves to her hometown of Gravigna in the winesoaked region of Chianti. Half Italian and half Irish, Nico finds himself able to get by in the region with the help of Rita’s relatives, but he still feels alone and out of place. He isn’t sure if it’s peace he’s seeking, but it isn’t what he finds. Early one morning, he hears a gunshot and a dog’s cries near his cabin and walks out to discover a dead body in the woods, flashily dressed in gold tennis shoes. When the police arrive, Nico hastily adopts the fluffy white dog as his own and wants nothing more to do with the murder.

But Salvatore Perillo, the local maresciallo, discovers Nico’s professional background and enlists him to help with the case. It turns out more than one person in this idyllic corner of Italy knew the victim, and with a very small pool of suspects, including his own in-laws, Nico must dig up Gravigna’s every last painful secret to get to the truth.

An engaging procedural that introduces a delightful cast readers will want to spend more time with … The solution Trinchieri provides will surprise and satisfy.

Kirkus Reviews

Pair this murder mystery with Chianti or another Italian beauty, Li Per Te Rosso Veneto.

Fashion, Rosé and Foul Play

Author Gemma Halliday | #6 In the Wine & Dine Series | GH Publishing | Explore
Cover of Fashion, Rosé and Foul Play by Gemma Halliday

Emmy Oak has always been a fan of her best friend Ava’s handmade silver jewelry. So when Ava gets a chance to showcase her pieces at a charity fashion show for Wine Country’s elite, both women are thrilled. That is, until the model wearing Ava’s custom emerald necklace is murdered after her runway walk and the gem is stolen! The theft of the expensive jewel means Ava could lose everything, including her shop, Silver Girl… unless Emmy can help her track down a killer and find the missing emerald!

While the enticing Detective Grant might be looking at the death as a burglary-gone-wrong, Emmy isn’t so sure that’s the case. The model’s name was Gia Monroe, and Emmy quickly learns that she made her fair share of enemies in life. From the flamboyant designer overheard threatening her just before the fashion show, to her agent with a shady secret and a precarious hold on his talent, to an eccentric rival designer with a grudge, no one seems to be grieving Gia’s death. And when Emmy discovers Gia may have had a mysterious stalker, she realizes any one of them could have murdered the model. Between running her small winery and navigating the catty world of high fashion, Emmy tries to stay one step ahead of the danger…before the killer strikes again! 

I loved every minute of this Wine and Dine Mystery with characters you feel like you know and a beautifully written twisty mystery that makes you feel you are right in the middle of all that’s happening in California’s Wine Country. Ms. Halliday knows how to keep you totally immersed and never disappoints whatsoever.

Pamela R. Mitchell, Book Reviewer

Pair this whodunnit with a dry Rosé or a full-bodied white wine like Steeple Street Chardonnay.

Love books and wine? Ask your Wine Guide to set up a book club wine tasting either virtually or in person. Happy haunting and sipping, wine lovers!

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