A Day in the Life of Katie Stillwell by Nadine Nettmann

Decanting A MurderWhile enjoying a glass of wine, have you ever related it to someone you know? I compare everyone in my life to wine whether it’s due to their personality traits — strong, bold, easy to get along with and therefore, pairs with everything — or sometimes it’s because of their backgrounds. For example, my best friend, Tessa, is a Merlot. Not because of the specific characteristics of Merlot, but because like Merlot, her reputation was also damaged in 2004.

My name is Katie Stillwell and I am a sommelier at Trentino Restaurant where I help guests choose a wine to pair with their meal. The correct wine can really accentuate all the flavors in a dish. For example, Champagne complements salty dishes, Chardonnay is great with rich seafood, and Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect with richer meats.

My alarm clock wakes me up early every morning and I set out for Golden Gate Park to run three miles. Running helps clear my mind and prepare me for the day ahead. The other thing that also really helps is seeing vineyards, but I don’t see those every day. I love the organized rows, just patiently waiting to burst forth with grapes which will create the magic inside a bottle of wine.

After my run, I study for my sommelier exams before I head to work. My goal is to eventually become a Master Sommelier. There are just over 200 in the entire world and only a small percentage is female. The information I need to know for the exams includes a lot about wine but also ranges from what type of cask ferments sherry to the name of each tributary of the Mosel River in Germany. As you can imagine, I have a lot of flashcards.

Twice a week I meet with my blind tasting group. We each bring a bottle of wine hidden by a paper bag and have to deduce which wine it is by swirling, looking, smelling, and tasting. Each one is like a fun puzzle we get to solve every week, but it’s also serious as we’re all studying.

My recent sommelier exam was supposed to be the hardest part of my week but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley wine party. But I won’t get into that now. That would take a long time, possibly a book.


Decanting A Murder is the first book in the NEW Sommelier mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, May 2016.

Can Katie Solve a Case of Chateau Murdeaux?

Katie Stillwell focuses on two things in her life: work and practicing for Sommelier Certification with her blind tasting group. The exam was supposed to be the hardest part of her week, but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party.

When all the evidence points to Katie’s best friend, the outspoken and independent Tessa, Katie drops everything to clear Tessa’s name. Using her deductive wine skills, she tries to track down the real killer. But when repeated attempts are made on her life, Katie discovers that everyone’s secrets must be uncovered―including her own.

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Meet the author
Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has visited wine regions around the world, from Chile to South Africa to every region in France, but chose Napa as the setting for Decanting a Murder, her debut novel. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband. Find out more about Nadine at nadinenettmann.com.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Decanting A Murder. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 16, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

35 comments

  1. Love to read mystery books about wine and vineyards. Look forward to this new series.

  2. A new-to-me author. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Decanting a Murder.

  3. This is a very interesting book. I love wines and buy them based on what I plan to serve with them down the road. Heck, I was at a birthday party yesterday and when the waiter was walking around with red and white wines I took the white and a niece asked for white also. He gave me the one in his hand and brought her back a glass with white wine in it. I had tasted mine and asked him if it was a Pino (my son had given me a bottle of Dalton Pino Gris at Passover). I was right and happily the Moscato D’asti my niece received was her favorite.

    So toss my name into the magic contest hat Dru and let’s see if I’m the lucky winner.

  4. This is a new basis for a book that I haven’t read before. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. I admit I don’t really know one wine from the next, I just know what I like. I would find this interesting, that’s one thing I love about cozies, besides the mystery I usually find that I learn something new.

  6. I have a friend who is a Master Sommelier, and she loves her job — she had to work very hard for it, but the job has amazing benefits, like traveling all around the world to various vineyards, lecturing on cruises, etc… She got me very interested in wine and is good at pointing me in the right direction for wines I might like. I would love to read this book and really appreciate the giveaway! Thanks Dru!

  7. I like wine and would like to read about a sommelier. I think it would be an enjoyable read. Definitely adding to my TBR list.

  8. Don’t know much about wibe,sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  9. Decanting a Murder sounds very interesting. I would love to learn some wine selection tips
    while enjoying a good mystery. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  10. Sounds like a good one. Looking forward to reading it – perhaps with a glass of wine in hand.

  11. Decanting a Murder sounds interesting. Thank you for introducing me to another new series and author.

  12. It is always exciting to meet a new author and series. Thank you, Dru. I am really looking forward to this one. Wine is something that I am just learning about, so this is just in time. So hoping. Thanks for the chance to get this

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