The best vineyard books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about vineyards and why they recommend each book.

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A Walk in the Clouds

By Deborah Chiel,

Book cover of A Walk in the Clouds

This is a beautiful story set in Post WW 2 era about a young woman on her way home from college. She is ‘in trouble’ and in need of a good friend. Her family of Spanish/Mexican heritage owns a vineyard in California and is very traditional. She meets up with a young soldier, also on his way home. He offers to help her... and the magic, as well as the trouble, begins. This is a lovely romantic story... a celebration of fate and true love. 


Who am I?

The first time I visited a vineyard was as a child with my mother and grandparents. Driving to San Francisco from Oregon, we stopped to tour a Sonoma vineyard and winery there. Later, as a young adult touring Western Europe, I became intrigued by the vineyards there. Something about the beauty of gently rolling slopes of green vines tugged on me. And I found the science and art of winemaking fascinating. Even the history of wine-making is noteworthy. And I love that Jesus’ first miracle was transforming ordinary water into extraordinary wine. So using the setting of a vineyard for my novel just felt right. And it was a fun adventure!


I wrote...

Looking for Leroy

By Melody Carlson,

Book cover of Looking for Leroy

What is my book about?

Brynna Philips is ready to give up on love. But when her fellow teacher invites her on a camping trip through Sonoma wine country, she’s reminded of her first crush, a young man named Leroy, whose family owned a vineyard down there. Is there any chance she can find him...and one last chance for love? “No one writes clean, contemporary romance like Carlson, who delivers another winner with this novel...Hallmark will be salivating over this script. With plenty of humorous encounters, delightful misunderstandings, and realistic characters, this is one to hand to readers looking for a fun read with a hint of faith.” Library Journal

Flesh and Fire

By Laura Anne Gilman,

Book cover of Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War

Wine and magic. Need I say more? No, but I shall anyway: I love wine, complex and delicious and delightful; and I love magic, mysterious and powerful. Laura Anne combines these elements to great effect in her Vineart War series, where spells are crafted from wines—the only source of magic in the world. It was hard to read this without wanting a glass of pinot noir by my side!


Who am I?

I love food and drink! I am an avid cook and kitchen creator. Since moving to an island five years ago, far from mainland stores, I’ve learned to craft much more myself. I make limoncello, fresh ice creams, shrub (sipping vinegar); I roast and saute and barbecue and preserve; and I belong to a “bean club” which sends me a box of interesting dried beans every quarter. (No, really.) Combine this with my love of imaginative literature, and you end up with Arouf’s “spicy sweetprawn stew” in Our Lady of the Islands…a recipe I’ll have to actually invent someday.


I wrote...

Our Lady of the Islands

By Shannon Page, Jay Lake,

Book cover of Our Lady of the Islands

What is my book about?

Sian Katte is a successful middle-aged businesswoman in the tropical island nation of Alizar. Her life seems comfortable and well-arranged…until a violent encounter one evening leaves her with an unwanted magical power.

Arian des Chances is the wife of Alizar’s ruler, with vast wealth and political influence. Yet for all her resources, she can only watch helplessly as her son draws nearer to death. When crisis thrusts these two women together, they learn some surprising truths: about themselves, their loved ones, and Alizar itself. Because beneath a seemingly calm facade, Alizar’s people—and a dead god—are stirring…

Grape Expectations

By Caro Feely,

Book cover of Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France

Enjoying wine is second nature here in France. But what does it take to produce a perfect vintage? This no-frills memoir gave me the answers. 

An Irish couple moves to the Dordogne. Realising their dream, they buy a vineyard in financial trouble only to find that they have taken on more than they realised. And it’s tough on them all. Caro takes the reader on a detailed journey, describing the challenges of renovating their dilapidated farmhouse whilst learning to become wine-makers. 

I was fascinated by the gritty realities and hard work needed to make their vineyard a going concern. I was also hugely impressed. I suspect that many others in a similar situation would have given up. Amazingly, they continue whilst bringing up their young daughters and integrating into their local community. I was engrossed throughout.


Who am I?

My love affair with France began years ago with a holiday to St Malo. Since then, it’s been hard to stay away. Luckily, my husband felt the same way and eventually, we decided to buy a country estate in the rural southwest. Today, I write about our wacky lives here, how we refurbished our home and came to live with so many animals. We’re immersed in a quirky farming community that lives in harmony with the seasons. Honestly? Nothing much has altered for the past thirty years. It’s magical. Oh, and when we have time, we’ll explore our locality. We still have so much here to discover.


I wrote...

Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 1

By Beth Haslam,

Book cover of Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 1

What is my book about?

Buying a country estate in France seemed such a simple idea. When Beth, her grumpy husband Jack, and their two fat dogs set off, little do they know that it will become an extraordinary adventure. Surviving near-death experiences, they drive thousands of kilometres viewing French estates steeped in history and crazy aristocrats. Will they find their dream home or return to Britain defeated? This is the first instalment in Beth’s hugely entertaining Fat Dogs series.

Vineyard Tales

By Gerald Asher,

Book cover of Vineyard Tales: Reflections on Wine

Gerald Asher is a wine writer who is celebrated for his range, his knowledge, his ability to see below the surface of things, and his compelling writing style. This book of essays about wine is one of my favourites, ranging as it does from wines with food, in which he goes in unexpected directions, to whether or not and how to decant wines, to drinking wine in Greece surrounded by the gods, to wines from Portugal and California and Oregon and Italy and France. He takes me to places I’ve never been and to wines I’ve never drunk, all with no effort on my part. Along the way, I learn and I enjoy. What a pleasurable book!


Who am I?

I’m the daughter of a Californian grape farmer, and have driven tractor, picked grapes, and tied vines. Whilst at Berkeley, I travelled around Napa Valley tasting wines whilst riding pillion on a 750 cc motorcycle; at Oxford I discovered European wines. Thereafter, I was a professor of modern and contemporary history in London, writing nearly a dozen books, and continuing to explore wines with my husband. I have wine in my bones. I now travel around the world tasting it, writing about it, judging it, and leading tasting tours, all the while continuing to drink it. I am currently writing a book on the global history of wine.


I co-wrote...

Is This Bottle Corked? The Secret Life of Wine

By Kathleen Burk, Michael Bywater,

Book cover of Is This Bottle Corked? The Secret Life of Wine

What is my book about?

This is a book of fifty short essays about wine, all answering a question, and ideal for reading in the evening with a glass of port in hand. There are bits of history – ‘What was George Washington’s favourite wine?’ or ‘Did Slovenia turn the British into a nation of wine drinkers?’ Others look at literary figures – ‘Why did Omar Khayyam write so much about wine?’ or ‘What did Jane Austen recommend for heartache?’ There are big questions – ‘What is terroir, and should we care? or ‘Must you have a guru?’ or ‘Do you understand winespeak?’ But there are also small ones - ‘What is a “comet wine”?’ or ‘When should wine smell of petrol?’ And for the truly curious, there is a look at wine made from brussels sprouts. 

These Tangled Vines

By Julianne MacLean,

Book cover of These Tangled Vines

"I love everything—the food and the wine and the olive groves and the grapevines..." That line from the book was the feeling that enveloped me as I read this story. There is warmth and tenderness, comfort and satisfaction, a place where people work hard and reap the rewards of their efforts.

The universal search for love is prominent in These Tangled Vines. Love of husband and wife, married lovers, mother and daughter, father and daughter, sibling to sibling. Everyone wants love. But how many of us find the perfect match?

I loved exploring the lushness of Tuscany and the delicious food, wine, and passion. Reading this story made me want to be there once again.


Who am I?

I’ve always been a huge believer of love and romance and happily ever after. I also know that real life and happily ever after aren’t always easy. It took me 45 years to find my Prince Charming (after kissing a lot of frogs). I love reading stories of hope, courage, and promise and strong women who pursue their dreams. They inspire me to keep going and to keep writing. Whether I’m creating women’s fiction, historical novels, fantasy, or romance, my books explore relationships and why people do what they do, and every story focuses on love (what we always strive for) and forgiveness (what we always need). 


I wrote...

Bella Toscana

By Nanette Littlestone,

Book cover of Bella Toscana

What is my book about?

Fifty-year-old Toscana Blake has a “nice” husband and a “comfortable” marriage. There’s no magic. When she travels to Italy for Rome’s chocolate festival, she’s startled by visions at the Temple of Vesta and an unexpected meeting with a young history professor, Flynn Harris, who feels strangely familiar. As Flynn helps her unravel the mystery of her visions, Toscana starts to fall for her new friend. And when a psychic tells her she’s been searching for love for many years and is only half-alive, she fears there’s no way back to the world she understood. 

From Atlanta to Rome to Tuscany, Toscana’s emotional journey tests the bonds of love and friendship. Will her sensible side prevent her from accepting her happily ever after?

A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle,

Book cover of A Year in Provence

Okay, this is another Peter Mayle book, but there are only so many vineyard books that I can recall at the moment. And this is an excellent one! I think it’s the first ‘vineyard’ book that I ever read. Similar to Under the Tuscan Sun, it’s a true story about how Peter and his wife relocated to Provence France for an amazing year. And it’s an amazingly well-written story that transports you straight into French wine country. I particularly love his description of the ancient farmhouse they occupy during their year. This is a real ‘take you away’ tale.


Who am I?

The first time I visited a vineyard was as a child with my mother and grandparents. Driving to San Francisco from Oregon, we stopped to tour a Sonoma vineyard and winery there. Later, as a young adult touring Western Europe, I became intrigued by the vineyards there. Something about the beauty of gently rolling slopes of green vines tugged on me. And I found the science and art of winemaking fascinating. Even the history of wine-making is noteworthy. And I love that Jesus’ first miracle was transforming ordinary water into extraordinary wine. So using the setting of a vineyard for my novel just felt right. And it was a fun adventure!


I wrote...

Looking for Leroy

By Melody Carlson,

Book cover of Looking for Leroy

What is my book about?

Brynna Philips is ready to give up on love. But when her fellow teacher invites her on a camping trip through Sonoma wine country, she’s reminded of her first crush, a young man named Leroy, whose family owned a vineyard down there. Is there any chance she can find him...and one last chance for love? “No one writes clean, contemporary romance like Carlson, who delivers another winner with this novel...Hallmark will be salivating over this script. With plenty of humorous encounters, delightful misunderstandings, and realistic characters, this is one to hand to readers looking for a fun read with a hint of faith.” Library Journal

Under the Tuscan Sun

By Frances Mayes,

Book cover of Under the Tuscan Sun

Frances Mayes narrates life in Tuscany with a clear, refreshing voice, adding in some cooking recipes, scenic Tuscan landscapes, and adventures around Italy, along with the recipe to find happiness in the simple things in life, in a wonderful foreign setting. Italy like you’ve never experienced it before, through the eyes of an almost-local.


Who am I?

I have been to Europe a handful of times, exploring Paris, Italy, Malta, Spain, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Amsterdam. Europe lends itself perfectly to be immortalised in literature. The continent is steeped in thousands of years of charming history, oozing out of the cobblestoned streets and painted in layers on the buildings. Scratch the surface and a new, richer layer comes to the fore, exciting and amazing anew. Europe inevitably turns into one of the important characters in any book set there and many a writer have managed to capture its essence in their work. Alongside Peter Sarstedt, Europe inspired my work, taking the reader along on a wondrous journey.


I wrote...

Where do you go to

By Jean Cerfontaine,

Book cover of Where do you go to

What is my book about?

Join in her beautiful journey as the adopted daughter of a French diplomat explores life and discovers talents for dance and art. Her travels are described in beautiful prose, sharing her trials and tribulations through the glorious vista that is mid-century Europe. As she rubs shoulders with the rich and famous in Rome, St. Moritz, Moscow, and France, the burning question of her unknown roots remains unsolved—Who is she?

Will the mystery of her origins remain unsolved, or will the truth behind her morning tears finally be revealed? Inspired by the famous Peter Sarstedt song, this is a classic tale, 50 years in the making.

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook

By Frances Mayes, Edward Mayes, Steven Rothfeld (photographer)

Book cover of The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen

What better way to transport ourselves to a different place than by food. I love how Frances and Edward share simple traditional Tuscan recipes in this cookbook. Things you can actually concoct in your own kitchen, and you know they’re tried and true. These recipes make me want to drag a long table outside, set lanterns and flowers upon it, invite some friends and neighbors, then bring out generous platters of pasta and ragu and chewy bread and... a fine bottle of wine... and just enjoy!


Who am I?

The first time I visited a vineyard was as a child with my mother and grandparents. Driving to San Francisco from Oregon, we stopped to tour a Sonoma vineyard and winery there. Later, as a young adult touring Western Europe, I became intrigued by the vineyards there. Something about the beauty of gently rolling slopes of green vines tugged on me. And I found the science and art of winemaking fascinating. Even the history of wine-making is noteworthy. And I love that Jesus’ first miracle was transforming ordinary water into extraordinary wine. So using the setting of a vineyard for my novel just felt right. And it was a fun adventure!


I wrote...

Looking for Leroy

By Melody Carlson,

Book cover of Looking for Leroy

What is my book about?

Brynna Philips is ready to give up on love. But when her fellow teacher invites her on a camping trip through Sonoma wine country, she’s reminded of her first crush, a young man named Leroy, whose family owned a vineyard down there. Is there any chance she can find him...and one last chance for love? “No one writes clean, contemporary romance like Carlson, who delivers another winner with this novel...Hallmark will be salivating over this script. With plenty of humorous encounters, delightful misunderstandings, and realistic characters, this is one to hand to readers looking for a fun read with a hint of faith.” Library Journal

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