Friday, June 27, 2014

Drinks with Reads: Bellweather Rhapsody and Homemade Wine

Kate Racculia is one of my favorite authors - I discovered her in 2010 with This Must Be The Place, and now she’s published Bellweather Rhapsody, a mystery in the spirit of Ellen Raskin and Agatha Christie.  If you like quirky characters and twisty plots, this one is for you.  The tale takes place in the Bellweather, a falling-down hotel in upstate New York, during a high school music festival.  Our hero, Rabbit Hatmaker, is a shy senior - but there’s something about the Bellweather that causes him to come out of his shell.  At the same time, his twin sister, Alice, discovers a gruesome tableau: it could be a murder, but it could be something else.  The Bellweather is haunted, and the mysteries surrounding our characters unravel as we find out what exactly happened, both that night and in every night that came before.

I interviewed Kate here on my podcast, The ABC Book Reviews, and we had a great time telling bassoon stories. Like Rabbit, we’re both bassoonists.  Check it out for more details. 

Our drink of choice is red wine: you’ll know why when you read the book.  My husband makes his own, so yes, you can ferment it yourself.  We get juice from local vineyards, then let it age in our basement for at least nine months.  You can add sugar to the juice to make it sweet, or leave it alone for a drier taste - of course, it also depends on the juice and grape type you are using.  Supplies for storing the wine can be found at beer or winemaking stores; typically, the juice ages in a large glass jug called a carboy.  When it comes time to bottle, you can re-use old bottles or buy new ones.  For an easy introduction, you can use a wine making kit such as Wine Expert:  I'm certainly not an expert, but I'm sure my husband would be willing to answer any questions! Just ask him in the comments below. 

This one is a ruby red cabernet, and it will knock you down, just like a certain character in Bellweather Rhapsody.  Curl up with a glass and this fine read.


  1. What a fun idea. I never even thought about making wine. Bellweather Rhapsody sounds great too. I've added it to my TBR list.

  2. I have a friend who just started this hobby in January and he's enjoying himself.