Once Upon A Wine

Black Dog Bay, Book #4

By Beth Kendrick

ISBN13: 9780451474193

Author’s Website: http://bethkendrick.com/

Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra



From the “sharp, sassy, [and] surprisingly emotional” author of Put a Ring on It, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, and The Week Before the Wedding, a new novel set in the charming seaside town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware…
Cammie Breyer needs a big glass of cabernet—her restaurant failed and her chef boyfriend left for a hotter kitchen. Just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, her Aunt Ginger calls with a surprise. She’s bought a vineyard—in Delaware. At Ginger’s command, Cammie returns to Black Dog Bay, the seaside town where she spent her childhood summers with her aunt and her cousin, Kat.

The three women reunite, determined to succeed. There’s only one little problem: None of them knows the first thing about wine making. And it turns out, owning a vineyard isn’t all wine and roses. It’s dirt, sweat, and desperation. Every day brings financial pitfalls, unruly tourists, romantic dilemmas, and second thoughts.  But even as they struggle, they cultivate hidden talents and new passions. While the grapes ripen under the summer sun, Cammie discovers that love, like wine, is layered, complex, delicious, and worth waiting for.


As an introduction to the writing of Beth Kendrick, Once Upon a Wine, was a great start. The witty dialogue and play on words certainly had my laughing.  Even right from the get go:

“Bold and bruising, but that’s how I like it-almost aggressive.” …..”Spine tingling.

Cammie’s way of upselling a bottle of the Araujo cabernet to her dining customers.  It definitely had me chuckling.  Unfortunately, fairly soon after this, Cammie loses her job (as a result of taking a personal phone call from her cousin while at work).  Turns out Cammie’s Aunt Ginger has gone and bought herself a vineyard…in Delaware of all places!  So off to Delaware at the request of her cousin Kat, to deal with Aunt Ginger’s purchase of the vineyard.  As we learn, the location is Black Dog Bay, Delaware…the town Cammie got her heart broken big time before she left to make it in the restaurant industry in Los Angeles.

So once again back in Black Dog Bay, Cammie and Kat must figure out what their Aunt Ginger’s new vineyard needs to survive (since getting her money back was not an option) … The journey is filled with fun and laughs as well as self-discovery.  I was amazed at the self-growth of not only Cammie but of Kat throughout the story, with the sly and subtle pushes from Aunt Ginger.

I really enjoyed the names of various business establishments in Black Dog Bay: The Jilted Café, the Rebound Salon, the Eat Your Heart Out Bakery and the Naked Finger.  This town is quaint and oozes charm.  If I had a recent breakup, I would certainly like to visit this town during the healing process.

Kat is a retired skateboarding champ (retired as a result of back injuries) whose marriage is going through a rough patch.  When Kat takes off to Delaware to help her mother, you know this can’t be good for the marriage.  Truer words were never spoken when Josh (Kat’s husband) texts Kat and says…

We need to talk. Call me ASAP”.  “The words ‘We need to talk’ have never led to anything good in the history of mankind,” Kat said. 

There are definitely heart-wrenching moments along with lighter, smile-worthy moments as Josh and Kat work through their issues.  Will they survive?  I am afraid you shall have to read the book because I won’t tell you  🙂

Aunt Ginger also has some romantic entanglements (or was it just a one-night stand?) along with her cunning and inventive methods for promoting and selling the wine from the vineyard.  She is some “sexy” acting momma / aunt.  I loved her wit as well as her unique way of solving problems.  It definitely created some chuckle-worthy moments.

We get to live through Cammie’s reprisal of her high school romance with Ian McKinlay…and the breakup.  I don’t really want to say much, but the whole getting reacquainted thing had some terribly funny moments.  Through self-discovery (and some sage insight from Ian), Cammie comes to understand why she had to leave and how her leaving affected Ian.  As they reconnected, there are some hilarious dating moments and some really sentimental moments (like learning the history of the “strawberry” that was planted when they dated years ago and how it is the foundation of Ian’s farming activities now).  Can we say…ahhh

I must also say…. the whole story line regarding the tractor was priceless.  I laughed so hard but loved Kat and Josh’s perseverance. What a triumph when they got this piece of machinery running.  And lest we forget…the retired show dog named Jacques was certainly a contributing member of the vineyard.  I loved how he had to go with Cammie to walk the field.  It was like it was his mission!

What a delightful novel from Beth Kendrick.  I laughed, I got teary eyed, I got frustrated, but most importantly, I enjoyed!  While this was my first book by this author, Once Upon A Wine will certainly not be my last read by this author.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*