Killer Chardonnay by Kate Lansing

Killer Chardonnay

Killer Chardonnay by Kate Lansing (Colorado Wine Mystery Series Book 1)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 4.1 MB

Parker Valentine has always dreamed of opening her own winery in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. But she gets more than she bargained for when a food and wine critic unexpectedly shows up at Vino Valentine on opening day. A negative review could be fatal for her business, and not only does he seem to hate her chardonnay, he also collapses and dies shortly after drinking it.

Although Parker hoped that the attendees would put a cork in it, soon her winery is at the center of a social media firestorm. With #killerchardonnay trending online, Parker’s business is in danger of closing, and she has no choice but to investigate the murder herself.To restore her reputation, catch a killer, and keep her struggling business open, Parker needs only one thing: some good proof.

I arrange open bottles of wine behind the hard maple countertop from lightest to heaviest. A crisp white blend on the left, a jammy cabernet sauvignon on the right, and me, a cluster of nerves, right smack in the middle.

Today is the grand opening of my winery—I still can’t believe I’m saying that—my winery, Vino Valentine. The world will finally get to taste the fruits of my labor, which is equal parts exciting and panic-inducing.

Because this is really happening.

My crazy pipe dream is becoming a reality. Although, as I’m all too aware, my reality could very well turn into a nightmare.

“Parker, where would you like these?” my assistant, Anita, asks, brandishing two baskets full of palate-cleansing crackers.

Towering over me, her willowy frame is accentuated by wedge sandals, long blond hair pulled into a high ponytail, and a flowery tunic dress.

“One on each end of the tasting bar,” I answer.

Anita places them as directed and then returns to my side. She caught me in the back earlier hyperventilating into a paper bag that was meant for packaging goods. Ever since, she’s kept an extra-close eye on me. Which I appreciate. Really. Except sometimes a girl needs to have a meltdown in peace.

She pushes thick-framed glasses up her nose. “So, are you ready?”

“No. Yes. I don’t know.” I bury my face in my hands and then peek through my fingers. “What if no one shows?”

True story, my parents couldn’t even fit my opening into their busy schedules, as they so kindly informed me this morning via text. And it’s a Saturday. Which begs the question, if my own mom can’t make time for me, what hope do I have for the general public?

“This is Colorado, the land of handcrafted concoctions; they’ll show,” Anita says with a confidence I wish I felt.

Colorado may not be the first place that comes to mind when people think of wine tasting, but it’s a burgeoning destination thanks to the high altitude and cooler climate, which give the fruit a more concentrated flavor.

She continues, “People are going to flock here like internet junkies to viral kitten videos. I mean, look at this place.”

I must admit, the cozy area is picturesque. Shiny blue letters on the storefront window gleam with the name Vino Valentine. The interior is arranged with oak-barrel tables, simple espresso folding chairs, and wine-bottle lanterns overhead. More baskets full of crackers and pillar candles—unscented so as not to interfere with the delicate aromas of the wine—dot the tables, and photographs of vineyards from around the world adorn the walls.

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