Edward Finstein, The Wine Doctor. Edward Finstein is a renown wine writer, author, TV & Radio host, international wine judge, wine educator, lecturer, appraiser, consultant and tour guide. His first novel, Pinot Envy, is set in Napa Valley and is filled with deceit, blackmail, intrigue, murder and fun. Not a stretch for Napa!
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Edward Finstein, The Wine Doctor:
Allow me to introduce you to my alter ego, Mr. Woody Robins (I can hear shrinks the world over pulling out their note pads). Like myself, he’s a wine expert who teaches, consults, writes, judges, eats, drinks, loves, makes merry and has traveled the world over in pursuit of the nectar of the grape (It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it).
We both have a passion for vintage clothes, hats, old music and movies and possess a devil-may-care attitude toward life. However, unlike moi, my San Francisco-based chum’s career in the wine biz has taken an unusual turn as of late. Simply by chance, he has gone into investigatory work involving rare artifacts of a vinous nature. Neat stuff…huh? One such adventure involves trying to find a stolen, very rare, priceless, large bottle of red Burgundy that once belonged to the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, for a wealthy Napa Valley grape grower. An unsurmountable task, you say? Not for my quirky pal. In his inimitable style, which is anything but traditional, he encounters all kinds of unusual characters, none of whom can be trusted. Deceit, blackmail, intrigue, connections to the mob and even murder result. Does this shake my bon vivant comrade? Not in the least! He prods on in search of the rare gem, causing havoc wherever he goes. Word on the street is that the missing red pop is cursed. Fear not, this frightening morsel of info doesn’t phase our unusual gumshoe at all. “That’s nonsense,” says Woody. “Pinot Noir is a finicky grape, laced with mystique and erraticism, but cursed? I think not. However, once you’ve been bitten by the ‘Pinot Fairy’, you’re done for. Taste a great one, especially red Burgundy, and you’re hooked. You can spend a lot of time and mucho dollars after the fact trying many others and being totally underwhelmed. Then, just as you’re ready to give up on this heartbreaker of a grape and shake the vinous monkey off your back, Bacchus throws another winner your way and, ‘holy moley’, you’re pulled back in. It’s more like a drug, but it washes down roast duck like nobody’s business.”
As a rule, Woody likes to work alone, but does enlist the help of his jealous girlfriend, dizzy boyhood chum, hip older aunt and long-time mate with the San Francisco police department. They certainly bring something to the table for him, but you see, Woody has a problem, or rather several. First of all he’s forgetful. Has to use a tape recorder to remember stuff. Even forgets where the tape recorder is sometimes! Secondly, he has a commitment phobia, much to the dismay of his girlfriend. Thirdly, he doesn’t like being treated the way his father treated him. So what else is new? He’s flawed and has baggage like the rest of us. Only goes to make him more vulnerable, real and easy to relate to! Perhaps most emphatically though, because of his dress, manner, and unorthodox investigatory methods, he stands out like a sore thumb and tends to draw attention to himself wherever he goes. He just can’t seem to blend into any situation no matter what and falls into mess after mess that he has to get himself out of, often with comic results. Not exactly the ideal cover for a sleuth to say the least!
Wondering at this point whether he solves the case or not? Oh ye of little faith! Doubt not, our fair hero comes through with flying colors, even surprising himself.
So why am I telling you all this? Because Mr. Robins has graciously agreed to allow yours truly, Edward Finstein (TV and Radio host as well), to document his incredible escapade in a new, comic, wine mystery novel called Pinot Envy, just released by Bancroft Press. It possesses much of the same kind of wit and humor that my last award winning, non-fiction wine book, Ask the Wine Doctor, displays. In fact, reviews of Pinot Envy have been extremely favorable thus far (www.winedoctor.ca/mybook.html) and numerous folks have commented that it would make a great feature film or made-for-TV movie. (Take that Sideways!) And guess what? Woody has relayed yet another wine-soaked, mysterious tale to me that I am busy documenting for future publication (More scribbled notes on pads by shrinks!). Are you ready for the title? It’s a good one… Mortal Zin.
For more about Woody and me, like my Facebook page
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