Rose Bennett, talented chef and English rose, trades her hometown of London for the sunny shores of Australia after a particularly devastating break-up. She finds herself a job as a nanny in the Shingle Valley, a picturesque yet rugged area full of vineyards, and tries to forget about romance.
As winter turns to spring, Rose starts to unlock the secrets of the Valley"the traditions, local secrets and delicious produce. And despite herself, Rose starts to fall in love: with the valley, the wines, the two children she's helping to look after"and with their father, the handsome and brilliant Mark Cameron, owner of the troubled Kalkari Wines estate.
In the tradition of Under The Tuscan Sun, Rose's Vintage boasts a lush setting reminiscent of Australia's best wine-making regions, a feisty heroine in need of a big life change and a delicious line-up of food and wine. Best read with a glass of red!
Kayte Nunn is food writer and the former editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine. She also writes on travel, health, wellbeing, parenting and lifestyle topics, and has been short-listed for local and international short-story awards. She is a mother to two girls. This is her first novel.
Author: Kayte Nunn
Question: What inspired Rose's Vintage?
Kayte Nunn: I was sitting in a café in Bondi on a freezing, rainy winter's day and the usually sparkling beachside suburb was looking very grim. I began to wonder what would happen if you turned up in Australia from the other side of the world, expecting sunshine and the general gorgeousness that's depicted in tv shows such as Home & Away and Bondi Rescue, and found that it was nothing like you'd expected… as I sat there I could imagine the character of Rose, getting off a bus, severely jet-lagged and wondering where on earth she'd ended up. I went home and began writing almost immediately.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Rose Bennett?
Kayte Nunn: Probably the food and wine I was able to weave into the story, as she is a chef who loves to bake – I've always loved descriptions of food and meals in books.
Question: Why did you decide to set the book on a vineyard?
Kayte Nunn: Several years previously I had been editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine and in the course of that job I was privileged to travel to many amazing vineyard regions in Australia and New Zealand. There, I often encountered a wonderful sense of community, which I wanted to explore in the novel. Wine and grape growing is also a very sensual pursuit, which seemed, naturally, to lend itself to a love story.
Question: What research did you do, before beginning the writing process?
Kayte Nunn: The background I'd had meant that I already had a pretty good idea of the winemaking details that I wanted to weave into the story. When I came across something I was unsure of I Googled news stories – for examples of small wineries winning the Jimmy Watson, etc. I also spoke to several winemakers about such details as keeping miniature sheep to graze the weeds between the vines and so on. Even though my setting is a fictional one – the Shingle Valley - I also made several visits to wine regions near me to ensure I'd got the details of landscape descriptions, etc, right.
Question: What's next, for you?
Kayte Nunn: I've already finished a second book set in the Shingle Valley, called The Angels' Share, which will be published in 2017, which continues the story of Rose and Mark but also centres on some new characters to the valley. Now I am writing a historical mystery about a late-Victorian female plant hunter and botanist.
Author: Kayte Nunn
Interview by Brooke Hunter