While we all know wine is a social lubricant, it is not very often it becomes the subject of a steamy romance novel… The sex appeal of Chilean wine, and winemakers, is the protagonist of Charmaine Pauls’ recently released romance novel, The Winemaker.
The Winemaker is a fictional story about an English girl, Zenna, who moves to Chile for her boyfriend who unceremoniously dumps her after 3 weeks. Left stranded in a new country, she befriends her handsome neighbor (a renowned winemaker) and begins to visit Chile’s vineyards and learn about the history of Chilean wine and the process of winemaking. It doesn’t take long for her attraction to wine, and in this case its dark and handsome maker, to embroil her in a thrilling romance story.
The South African author, Charmaine Pauls, lives in Santiago, and it was during her own journey into learning about Chilean wine that she was inspired to write the novel. “I happened to meet Chilean superstar winemaker Francisco Baettig (Chief winemaker at Viña Errazuriz), and his passion and achievements inspired the character of the protagonist, Etán,” she says. “I wanted to learn to taste wine properly, and found the possibilities for using an analogy between the wine and a woman too tempting not to explore…”
The wine descriptions do certainly arouse a certain analogy, take a description of a 1999 blend in the novel:
“His eyes lowered and lingered on her lips. “Showcases sweet, dark, plummy fruit.” He spoke as if he tasted every word. Zenna looked on, mesmerized, as his gaze trailed leisurely from her mouth, down her neckline to her breasts. “Wrapped in a cedary cloak of earth, tobacco, and cassis,” he said, his voice soft and deep, his exploratory stare traveling to her hips. “Smooth and supple, framed with soft tannins.” His eyes burned on her thighs. “There is no need to cellar it.” Then those smoldering green eyes lifted and finally locked with hers again. “It should last well.”
Charmaine says that each wine description becomes like a love poem, and the book focuses on the sensory nature of wine. What makes wine so sensual? “For me, personally, it is the combined effect of setting, company, cultivar and zooming in on your senses, allowing only taste and smell to dominate for those seconds, before I’m swept off my feet by the seduction of taste and sensation. The tingling on the tongue, the most lasting effect, releases endorphins that simulate the feeling of being in love. The beauty is in the all-around sensory memory left by the experience, and imprinted in the heart and mind.”
Chile is certainly beautiful, but is it sexy? “Definitely! I think Chile is a country of dark and strong nature (volcanoes and earthquakes); and beautifully stark contrasts (Atacama and Patagonia, for example, jump to mind), just like the heroes of my novels. It’s a modern country with a romantic history, one of diversity and strength in its different cultures and indigenous languages. It is also a country on the rise, and one that I longed to visit for as long as I can remember. The combination of cuisine, wine and nature is a heady mixture, one of the most deliciously intoxicating locations I have encountered in all of my travels.”
Whether this is the next book you pick up for some sultry beach reading, or perhaps you want to play a guessing game with which Chilean wines are described in the novel, the final impression will be the same: Chilean wine has sex appeal!
You can buy The Winemaker on Amazon, Kindle, and Melange Books.