Thursday, 19 September 2013

Kristi Ahlers: The Trouble with Vineyards

Today we welcome back one of Tirgearr Publishing's most prolific authors, Kristi Ahlers. Kristi is the author of the wildly successful Trouble Series. What started with a kiss continues today with the release of The Trouble with Vineyards. But don't let her fool you. Kristi is a master of writing kissing scenes; they're quite prolific through the series!

It's not surprising Kristi can write kissing so well. Being the wife of a Marine, the long goodbye and the long hello kisses are surely well in within her experience ;-)

Today we're featuring Kristi's latest release in The Trouble Series, The Trouble with Vineyards. She continues her journey in California (see The Trouble with Beachs, May 2013, set in San Francisco) to the Napa Valley where Meredith Ramsay has just received two horrible pieces of news from her grandmother -- the family vineyard (est 1852) is in trouble, and the consultant they hire to help turn things around is none other than the love of Meredith's life, whom she left ten years earlier when she received a prestigious invitation from a Paris ballet troupe. At 19 years of age, the choice of fulfilling a life-long dream or staying put for a man she'd only met, Jackson Remy, was a tough one. Ten years later, Meredith is home and facing that man again. Things aren't looking good for poor Meredith! Fortunately, Jackson isn't easily intimidated, nor is he a quitter.

To say the steam is rising in this story would be an understatement. Bad news, confrontation, hard truths and more are all brought to the surface in this one, including some of those stellar steamy kisses ;-)

The Trouble with Vineyards takes readers into the workings of an old family vineyard while also recounting some of the Napa Valley's history. One can't help visualizing rolling hills filled with grape vines, smelling the grapes on the warm valley breeze, and tasting the varietals on the tongue during a wine tasting. Aah, bliss! This is a must read for fans of Ms. Ahlers, and for those who love a good bottle of wine, or three {hic!}

Let's take a look at this fabulous story --

• • •

Meredith Ramsey is at the end of her rope. It’s up to her to turn her family’s vineyard into a money maker or a winery that has been in the family for one hundred eighty-two years will go up for auction. Her grandmother Marie, decides what Meredith needs is some help.

Enter Jackson Remy. He runs a very successful consulting company and it’s up to him to help turn things around for Le Clerq winery. He’s up for the challenge but what he wasn’t counting on his overwhelming desire for Meredith which has never abetted even after ten years have passed. When the two of them come together the sparks fly and anything can happen and if a few grapes get crushed in the process all the better.

“Dear, I need you to sit down. You might not like what I have to say.”

“Might not or won’t like?” Meredith dropped back into her chair and braced herself for whatever her grandmother was about to say. Adrenaline began to pump through her system.

“Do you remember Jackson Remy?”

Oh, no. No, no, no, no. This wasn’t happening. “Yes, I remember him,” she gritted out through clenched teeth and tried to find her center and her balance. There was no way life was going to be this cruel.

“Well, I hired him. As you know, he spent his life growing up around the grapes, he knows what it takes to make a winery work and make money, and he has practical experience.”


“No?” Her grandmother sat back in the chair and narrowed her eyes. “I never took you for a chicken heart. Give me one good reason why I should tell him not to bother coming when he may be the only person who can help you turn things around.”

Meredith hung her head in resignation. Oh, she could name a dozen reasons why she thought this was a bad idea, but she wasn’t going to be selfish or silly. She was an adult and she’d act like one. It would be her secret that she was screaming like a child on the inside. Now would be a brilliant time for that long awaited big one earthquake to take place and swallow her whole.

“Good girl. I knew you’d be responsible and adult with this. I’m almost positive Jackson has forgotten all about that night.”

“Geez, Grandma, do you have to talk about it?”

“Dear, how is ignoring what happened going to make it go away? I think it’s best when you both meet that maybe you just get it out there and deal with it and move on.”

As if it was that easy. Meredith ran a distracted hand through her now tangled hair. If she could go back in time and change things, that long ago night where she made the dumbest of mistakes would be the one thing she’d re-do.

“After all you both were so young, and—”

“Grandma.” This was not something Meredith wanted to talk about—now or ever. She’d all but run away from the one guy who could have made her happy. She’d been such a twit a decade earlier.

“Yes, dear?”

“Please, don’t bring up that night again. I’ll work with Jackson to turn the winery around but I won’t rehash the past. It’s behind me for good or ill and what is done is done.”

“Clich├ęs one and all dear. Maybe this is fate giving you a much needed second chance to right the huge mistake you made.”

“Yeah, because fate gives a rat’s hoo-ha about a mistake I made when I was nineteen.”

Her grandmother shook her head sadly. “I just want you happy, sweetheart, and I know Jackson was the man who would have added to your happiness.”

“Yes, well.” Meredith had no idea if that was true or not. She wasn’t terribly miserable; the last ten years had been good for the most part. Granted, there were days when she’d think about him and remember the summer spent under the stars in the vineyard with the son of the vineyard foreman. The summer days spent swimming at the lake, laughing and living. She missed the way he’d look at her before he’d kiss her senseless and how her body came alive when he touched her.

But she’d only been nineteen. It was her first trip visiting her family since her dad had passed away six years earlier. The whole summer with her family had been magical. She’d missed her California cousins and she loved being around the winery: the scents, the textures.

There was something very captivating about the winery. Maybe it was the family history, or maybe it was due to the fact it was something so very different from what she was used to. In any event, she’d thoroughly enjoyed her summer.

And then everything seemed to go wrong.

Or she ran off being a coward and that was what had been wrong.

However you want to look at, it the perfect summer ended up with a perfect dark mark.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and get ready, dear?”

“Get ready? For what?”

“Our company, of course.”

“He’s coming today?” So much for having a few days to get her act together and used to the idea of seeing Jackson again.

“Yes, dear. I figured it would be doing you a service to just get it over with—somewhat like ripping off a band-aid really quick on a hairy arm.” She nodded her head. “Yes, this is much more humane.”

Meredith could do nothing else but offer a smile and will her heartbeat to a normal rhythm and the desire to pass out to dissipate. “Why did I give up dance?” She muttered to herself as she stood.

• • •

Kristi Ahlers is a California girl! She grew up in Northern California in a small city called Yuba City. Since then she's lived in Brussels, Belgium, and England along with a myriad of other locations. A former flight attendant, she was able to continue to feed her love of travel. This has greatly influenced her writing, allowing her to pen stories about places she's managed to visit and things she's experienced.
Kristi loves to hear from her readers.

Find Kristi online --

Kristi Ahlers
Kristi's Blog
Tirgearr Publishing

 -- > Kristi is giving away a copy of The Trouble with Vineyards to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of The Trouble with Vineyards now for just $1.99 through Tirgearr Publishing.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today! I'm really excited about this story. It was so much fun to write and I'm hoping all my readers will find this a great addition to this series!

  2. Hey Kristi - Thanks for stopping by today. Loved The Trouble with Vineyards. Then again, I love this series.

    What was the best part of researching this story?

  3. Visiting different vineyards and listening to the histories of each place. It's amazing how everyone can grow the same grape...but the taste of the wine be so varied!

  4. Did you ever find out what that was? Does it have anything to do with the type of oak cask or soil conditions or . . .? I know one can make sourdough bread in San Fransisco and using the same yeast and ingredients make a loaf in NY and they taste totally different. And not always down to the water.

  5. It all depends on how they do the fermentation process. Oak barrels will produce a drier wine then a stainless steel cast...and it depends on the type of soil. The grapes pick up the different things in the soil...which makes the grape unique. Also it depends on the weather. Ice wines, where grapes stay on the vine late in the season are much sweeter than a grape pulled earlier...Another thing that makes a difference in sweet vs dry is if and when sugar is added to the's a really complicated but interesting process...

    A great many wines are mixed wines...and that's a taste process and each winemaker will develop their own signature taste...

  6. Do they add in flavors to get the undertones, or does that come from blending grapes? Wondering what Cupcake Vineyard wine tastes like ;-)

  7. The undertones or tannin come from the grape and the barrels they ferment the grapes in. Cupcakes wines are okay. I've had a few that were really good and a couple that were to me...bleck lol...I wasn't a fan of the angel food cake wine...but the red velvet was very's just a matter of taste. Personally I'm not a fan of dry wines, I prefer semi-sweet...and pairing wines with food change the whole flavor of a wine...I love taste interesting to see how the grape changes when paired with certain foods....

  8. You know, one of the best reds I've tasted in a long time (not saying much since I don't really drink much) is one called Gunsmoke Red from the Masked Rider Vineyard in CA. I wanted to bring back a few bottles but found the local shops weren't carrying it anymore! The hubs thinks I liked it just for the label and the name, but really, it was a great wine. I love cooking with wine and this one also made great stew.

    I had a lovely merlot with veal once in a fancy restaurant. Have never seen it again. Too bad. Maybe for the best. It was very drinkable!

    Definitely what you serve wine with makes all the difference.

  9. I had a cat named Merlot when I was little and a dog named Chardonnay! LOL...I've never heard of that brand...I'll have to check it out. Our local grocery store has an AMAZING selection of wines from all over the states and Europe...I'm partial to reds...but love a good white.


    I emailed them while I was in CA asking where I could pick up some bottles but they never replied. They're just up in Sonoma. Would have been a great day trip :-)

    From the time I was home in Sept to the time I went back in June, BevMo opened up all over the region. They have all kinds of stuff from around the world. Oddly, nothing local! The hubs was in heaven with all the beers to try.

    I don't usually drink, but when I do . . . sounding like that meme going around ;-)

  11. That's awesome I'm going to check out those links. I love finding new wines!

  12. If you can actually find the wine itself, Gunsmoke Red is lovely. I think it's their merlot. Smooth with a hint of smokiness ;-)

  13. Oh that does sound nice. i just had a glass of red about a week ago you could taste raspberry and was amazing. The winemaker actually added the chocolate. I know you're thinking yew...but it was very subtle...

  14. Chocolate and red wine go nicely together. I used to enjoy pouring a good red onto some dark chocolate ice cream. That has eeew factor for a lot of people . . . until they try it ;-)