Spritzer Vallier is the manager of a large commercial jug winery in Northern California. The new owner, Spritzer’s great-aunt Del, wants to make a quality champagne as well as the cheap wine that is the bedrock of their business. Being a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy, Spritzer resists Del’s fantastic idea. However, she insists and hires Michel, a French champagne master, to direct the setup of the new venture for four years until Spritzer can take over the running the winery by himself.
Spritzer and Michel must work closely together and right from the beginning it is clear there will be fireworks. Michel tends towards arrogance and control. Spritzer resents Michel’s authority and demands, and is a bit of a stubborn hot-head.
Keeping the two in check is Del—steady, caring, and wise, she directs the two toward the accomplishment of her dream.
Storms, accidents, and money problems plague the progress of the new winery, but eventually Michel and Spritzer work their way towards a successful conclusion to their efforts. But fate seems to have another destination for them as well, as they begin to fall in love with each other.
Spritzer is told in 3rd person omniscient that unfortunately falls short. So much of it feels 3rd person limited that at times it comes across as head hopping. There were also some huge info dumps that made my brain freeze up. Especially when the author came to describing a building. It became overload when one house, which we only saw a few times in the book and then only a couple rooms within the house, was described in 6 long paragraphs.
I did enjoy watching Spritzer grow up. From the spoiled brat he was at the beginning to the man he became at the end, it was nice to watch him grow. I wish Michel had been easier to figure out. He was there, but he never seemed to change. There was almost no growth for him in the story.
While I liked the characters, there was a lot of “much ado about nothing.” From Spritzer and Kan to Nelson to Lorne, there was a big buildup only to have that subplot end on a whimper. I was invested in those storylines so when the drama built and built only to land flat, I felt cheated. Sure, in real life we like these kinds of endings where nothing really happens, but in a book? Give me some drama and resolution.