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The Wines of Crush

Crush is set in California's wine country. Here's the story of the fictional wines in my books.

The von Eck vineyard is inspired by the history of Napa. A few years ago I picked up a pretty dense history of Napa Valley at a used bookstore -- Napa, The Story of An American Eden. I'll confess -- I didn't finish reading it. But that seed lead to the creation of von Eck in my mind.

The von Eck Estate and Winery shows up into of my books -- Plus One and Crush. When I was first dreaming up von Eck, I looked for inspiration in early Napa Valley wineries. Those like Charles Krug.

3D rendering of paperback Crush by Mae Wood

For the physical inspiration for von Eck, I drew not upon a Napa Winery, but King Estate in Oregon. They make a very lovely pinot noir. Mr. Wood and I had the most magical day at King Estate a few years ago, touring and tasting and eating a leisurely lunch under an umbrella on a sun-drenched stone patio with views that stretched into the distant rise of mountains. It really helped that the kids were elsewhere.

I also was inspired by Frank Family Vineyards, who makes amazing wines and is lovingly run by a family who lives on the estate and is passionate about the product and the land.

Cloudhaven makes its debut in Crush. I expect that you'll see more of Cloudhaven in the future from me. Cloudhaven is inspired by the super-cult winery Screaming Eagle. Their website tells you nothing. It's part of the attraction. Here's an overview of Screaming Eagle. Anyone have a bottle they'd like to send me in the name of research?

Now, what to drink to celebrate the release of Crush?

I wanted a wine Kenzie and Drennan would make, so I went out looking for one. And I found it.

Picayune Cellars checks all the boxes.

  1. Owned by two women

  2. Napa

  3. A Bordeaux-style red blend

  4. Priced that I could afford it

  5. The winemaker, Claire, calls it "my signature wine"

It's Kenzie and Drennan's dream wine. Here it sits in my kitchen's little wine area, ready to be opened on Friday night. Hopefully toasting the successful release of Crush with Mr. Wood.


XO - Mae

If you'd like a quick overview of the history of Napa, check out this article from Napa Valley Vintners.

Pictured, from left to right -- A Dom that I won't drink because no time seems "special enough," some California bubbles from Conundrum that I actually do enjoy for special events like sunny Saturdays with friends, the Picayune blend, and a Frank Family Pinot.

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