Sophia Giambelli has never worried about competition. For three generations, the Giambelli wines have been renowned for their quality -- from Napa Valley to Italy, and throughout the world. The pride of the Giambelli family and a top PR executive, Sophia loves her job--and excels at it.
But things are about to change at Villa Giambelli. Tereza, the matriarch, has announced a merger with the MacMillan family's winery--and Sophia will be assuming a new role. As a savvy businesswoman, she knows she must be prepared for anything . . . but she isn't prepared for Tyler MacMillan. They've been ordered to work together very closely, to facilitate the merger. Sophia must teach Ty the finer points of marketing -- and Ty, in turn, shows her how to get down and dirty, to use the sun, rain, and earth to coax the sweetest grapes from the vineyard.
As they toil together, both in and out of the fields, Sophia is torn between a powerful attraction and a professional rivalry. At the end of the season, the course of the company's future -- and the legacy of the villa -- may take an entirely new direction. And when acts of sabotage threaten both the family business and the family itself, Sophia's quest will be not only for dominance, but also for survival.
The bottle of Castello di Giambelli Cabernet Sauvignon, '02, auctioned for one hundred and twenty-five thousand, five hundred dollars, American. A great deal of money, Sophia thought, for wine mixed with sentiment. The wine in that fine old bottle had been produced from grapes harvested in the year Cezare Giambelli had established the Castello di Giambelli winery on a hilly patch of land north of Venice.
At that time the castello had been either a con or supreme optimism, depending on your point of view. Cezare's modest house and little stone winery had been far from castlelike. But his vines had been regal, and he had built an empire from them.
After nearly a century, even a superior Cabernet Sauvignon was likely more palatable sprinkled on a salad rather than drunk, but it wasn't her job to argue with the man with the money. Her grandmother had been right, as always. They would pay, and richly, for the privilege of owning a piece of Giambelli history.
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