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.

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