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     I’ll be at Keuka Spring Vineyards this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. signing A Sudden Gift of Fate. Come enjoy the gorgeous scenery that inspired my novel, and taste some VERY fine wines (for free!) at Keuka Spring.
    The event was mentioned in yesterday’s Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Finger Lakes are crushing it! –

     Many people have been asking if you can visit Keuka Spring Vineyards for my book signing if you don’t have a ticket for the Keuka Lake Wine Trail barbecue at the wineries event. The answer is “Yes,” owner Judy Wiltberger said with a smile.
     I stopped by Keuka Spring last weekend to drop off signed copies of my novel and discuss the logistics of the June 26 event with Judy. Of course I returned there a couple of days later for my first tasting of the season. (Did you know Keuka Spring’s tastings are free? Not many wineries do that anymore.) I bought a few bottles including a heavenly Vignoles Dessert Wine.

     As of tomorrow, A Sudden Gift of Fate will be available for purchase at Keuka Spring Vineyards. I’m delighted that they will be carrying the book, after all Judy & Len Wiltberger’s winery provided much inspiration for this novel.
     I hope to add more wineries, soon.

Tasting Room/Gift Shop of Keuka Spring Vineyards.

I’m delighted to announce that Keuka Spring Vineyards will carry “A Sudden Gift of Fate” starting Memorial Day Weekend.
     I will also be there signing copies of the novel from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 26. The signing will be part of the day’s Keuka Lake Wine Trail Event, Barbecue at the Wineries. According to their web site:

…Each winery features its own barbecue dish with a special sauce, marinade or rub, all made in New York State. We’ll throw open our windows, decks and porches for you to savor the warmth and beauty of the area and to discover a myriad of possibilities for barbecue and wine. $25 per person in advance.
     It has been a delight to watch Keuka Spring’s wines evolve since they opened. They have a wonderful selection (of both whites and reds) that appeals to all palates. (If you come to the event, and enjoy dry red wine, try the Miller’s Cove or Lemberger. Clara’s Red is a sweeter, delightful “house red” wine, perfect for patio sipping in the summer.)

Novel related:
Well, I was disappointed to learn that my novel did not make it into the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough novel Award. Still, I’m very proud it made it into the octofinals. I plan to start up a spring/summer promotion campaign soon. Will let you know the details. 

Lunch at an organic gourmet cafe on Seneca Lake. Wine from winery down the road.



Did you know there are two new trails in the Finger Lakes Wine Region? They don’t involve wineries, that is, directly.
     One is the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail that consists of eight cheese producers. The selection is wonderful, from traditional cheddars to goat cheese to herb-infused. The other is the Seneca Lake Cuisine Trail where organic meals inspired by the local wines are often on the menu.
     These trails, in fact, are actually not that far off from the story line in my novel. I’ve sampled from both, and must give thumbs up for regional, organic foods.

My novel takes place in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country in upstate New York. Today, Finger Lakes Wine Country released a FREE iPhone app that can be your official guide to this beautiful region. The app includes suggestions on how to explore the Finger Lakes with links to Wineries, Accommodations, Dining and Things to Do. It includes maps of the wineries, reviews and related Twitter updates.
     The app is available NOW at Apple’s app store. Applications tailored to BlackBerry and other mobile devices will be released soon, according to the press release.
     If you’ve enjoyed my novel, there’s no better way to celebrate completing it than spending a lazy day exploring the Finger Lakes and trying to find locations in the story.
Be sure to quench your thirst with a glass of fine FLX wine. By the way, May is Riesling Month. Search the app for more info…
   Hmm, perhaps you can even  find Loughmare Winery on this app… ;^)

Wine 'n Picnic ToteBe sure to stop by the Loughmare Winery Gift Shop at Cafe Press. There you’ll find all sorts of fun gifts with the catchphrase from A Sudden Gift of Fate, “Got terroir?”

Hunt Country's Foxy Lady Blush is made with Catawba grapes

Hunt Country's Foxy Lady Blush is made with Catawba grapes

     One of my favorite moments this year at a Finger Lakes winery occurred at Hunt Country Vineyards on Keuka Lake. After a tasting, three women wandered into the gift shop and exclaimed about one of Hunt Country’s popular wine series, “Oooh, Foxy Lady! Gotta get some of that!”
     After doing research on the grapes and winery processes used in the Finger Lakes, I now know why that series name is so clever.
     The first wine grapes planted in the Finger Lakes, the so-called “native” Vitis labrusca, are also known as fox grapes. They are distinguished by their strong grapey taste. Varieties include Niagara, Catawba, Delaware, Diamond, Isabella and Concord. These grapes tend to produce sweeter wines, and they were all the rage back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Remember Lake Niagara and Pink Catawba?)
     Winemakers who wanted to make European-style wines, with grapes that offer a broader range of sweetness from dry to dessert, spurned the fox grapes and instead focused on French-American hybrids and Vitis vinifera grapes such as Chardonnay, Riesling, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon.
     Some Finger Lakes winemakers feel it’s important to keep the native grapes for their historical value. I agree. Having grown up visiting Keuka Lake wineries, I believe (as Hunt Country does) that there is a place for the foxy grapes among all the others on a winemaker’s palate. This year I had two wonderful foxy wines from Keuka Lake, a semi-dry Delaware (Keuka Lake Vineyards) and bright refreshing Diamond (Barrington Cellars). 
     While foxy wines might not share the prestige of hybrids and viniferas, they’re part of Finger Lakes winemaking history and its taste. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for the efforts of Dr. Konstantin Frank to bring us viniferas (tonight I had a glass of Anthony Road’s brilliant 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling  — named best NY wine of the year). 
     But  as Jimi Hendrix sang, “Ooh, foxy lady!” And who’d argue with Jimi?

atwater     Tonight, as I savor a manuscript done, I’m thinking about that scene in the movie “Sideways,” when Maya tells Miles why she loves wine so much:

“I like to think about the life of wine, how it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the years the grapes were growing, how the sun was shining, if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And, if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now….”

     That really struck a chord with me, one that reverberates now after a year of studying what goes into the production of wine, especially all the challenges of weather, soil, disease, birds, insects, chemistry, etc.
     I admire the courage of Finger Lakes winemakers, and those around the world. I also admire how they marry viticulture & chemistry into potable art. Sláinte (Irish for cheers!).

book jacket

Available NOW at my e-store (,;
Barnes & Noble;
Powell's Books
What readers are saying:
"This endearing foursome, that so many readers of the first book fell in love with, face new challenges with Irish wit and a generally upbeat outlook on life. They're a group of friends that anyone would want to hang out with."
"After finishing it, I kept thinking of the characters and wondered how they were doing. I had to remind myself they weren't real and had to let them go..."
"I couldn't put it down."
"Pure dead brilliant!"

The Prequel

book jacket

Buy it @ my E-store;; and Powell's Books.

Cost: $20

The story

Irish couple Fergal and Brídgeen Griffin get an intriguing wedding gift: the chance to manage a Finger Lakes winery. When they move to Keuka Lake from Queens, see the rundown winery and meet its surly winemaker, they realize it will be quite a challenge getting from grapevine to bottle.
Meanwhile their friends Maeve and Andy face a challenge of their own, separation as he pursues experimental therapy for his paraplegia.
As the two couples face the challenges ahead, will they be able to keep hope alive?

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A Sudden Gift of Fate: Sequel to the novel The Cyber Miracles

Podcast Interviews

* Listen to my interview with Bill Jaker on his WSKG radio show, "Off the Page" here.
* Listen to my 10/21/2009 interview with Morgen McLaughlin on her BlogTalk Radio show, "Finger Lakes Wine Talk" here.

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