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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: #VinspirationResearch (VR), Visiting SoCal's Oak Mountain Winery!

"Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle."

Paulo Coelho

A writer's work is never done...Sometimes it's not so bad doing research for a storyline though, especially when it involves wine, LOL. I was thrilled last week to be able to take a mini road trip with the OH south to Temecula. I battled Omicron over the holidays through New Year's, so to finally be Covid free and able to be out in the world again felt pretty fine.

Most of our wine trips in California have been to the central coast vineyards in recent years, particularly Paso Robles. Many years ago, when I had a business position that took me to San Francisco, we ventured over to Napa a few times. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Temecula Valley vineyards that have cropped up much closer to home. Our trip last week took us to the Oak Mountain Winery, home of The Cave...

The Cave is actually the first, and last, of its kind in the SoCal wine country. When the owners decided to start the mining of the wine cave, the project was originally projected to take 2-3 months. Due to the soil conditions (sandy loam), the burrowing process became quite the construction undertaking due to the shifting nature of the soil. Consultants from Napa were called in, but in the end (2 years plus), the county of Riverside decided they would not be issuing any further permits to vineyard owners that applied for a similar project.

The Cave offers 9000 square feet of wine tunnel and is 75 feet below the vineyard. There are dining tables of various sizes in the cave available for members and diners at the Cave Cafe to enjoy. The cave stays a cool 64 degrees year-round, a great place to drink and dine in during those hot, summer months!

Tastings of the vineyard's different libations were done at various points of the cave tour. As our guide 👉 was telling us about the burrowing operations during the construction, I couldn't help but look up at the ceiling of the cave and pray we didn't have 'the big one' LOL. Sandy soils and earthquakes are not exactly a comforting thought to most Californians...especially when you're underground! 😲 I did get a fantastic idea for my story during this stop though...for those of you who will be reading book 7, remember the 'bat cave'.

Outdoors, the property has several meeting rooms for hosting events and will soon be opening a distillery operation for those customers who prefer more lively spirits. The grapevines are being pruned for spring right now, so the fields look a bit bare. In the pic above, behind the clump of trees is the property's B&B. For wine lovers who prefer to stay a day or two and enjoy the scenery and vino selections, this would be a great place to kick back and roam around the fields.

In the end, we purchased bottles of sparkling peach, white merlot (I had never heard of that before--it's yummy), Chardonay, and a dessert wine called 'Sweetie Pie'. This was a great little escape totaling around 70 miles each way, but well worth it to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. We will be back for sure, I am 'vinspired'. 😁🍷 It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

It's Almost That Time...

Thankfully, I have my writing mojo in gear once again and am making good progress. I've decided to do the book cover reveal next week for Blood on the Vines. This is a very special time of year for me for it was just 4 years ago in February (the 18th to be exact) when my writing journey began with Gemma and friends. I can't believe I'm releasing the 7th book in the series. It's been an amazing, writing journey and for all those who say it's too late, I say humbug! I was 60 years old for book 1...anything you can dream, you can do!

Murders We Write on Clubhouse is Coming January 30th!

Our first discussion for our Murders We Write room on Clubhouse will make its debut on Sunday, January 30th at 4 PM EST. Bibiana and I hope you will join us--30 minutes of Dun-Dun-Dun fun! 💀🌹

A mystical journey this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author Cynthia Raleigh, Sister of Wales, The Lanthorne Ordinary Witches, Book 2,


A glowing object on the rocky shore catches Yarrow Pickering's eyes during an early morning walk to gather clams. The proprietor of the Lanthorne Ordinary and herbal woman for the village of Milthorpe is intrigued as she digs the object from beneath the rocks' clutches. The glass orb is wrapped in a tattered cloth, it's origin and owner unknown. Its arrival takes Yarrow on a journey of discovery and personal growth as details of the past and nefarious plans of the present are revealed.

When a predator in the woods makes a grisly attack on a villager, Yarrow takes herbs and salves from her physicks cabinet to treat the man's wounds. The horrific attack seems almost unworldly and sends chills down Yarrow's spine. She is determined to find out what or who this stalker is before more devastation is unleashed. Will the villagers help her, or will prejudices of her mystical skills thwart her efforts? The orb could provide answers as well, but will Yarrow be ready to receive the teachings that will be unveiled?

Author Raleigh weaves an intriguing tale of a young woman's journey to understand and accept the mystical legacy that has been handed down to her from the sisterhood of generations beforehand. The historical detail and internal struggles with the villagers and mystical entities make this an engaging tale to the very end. Put this book on your TBR, a highly recommended read!

Next up in the reading queue:

Look Out Bike Paths, Here We Come!

Hubby and I treated ourselves to a bit of belated Christmas cheer this week. Last year we ordered ebikes from Sondors back in the spring. Unfortunately, as many of us experienced, supply chain deliveries were not our friends. We ended up canceling our order after several delays and no guarantee of delivery. We decided to go with a different brand, Schwinn, this time.

I'm having a flashback to the past--one of my first bikes was the monkey handlebar/banana seat Schwinn bike called 'SlicChic'. I loved that bike and oh, the miles I traveled! It's pretty exciting that 53 plus years later I am once again getting my Schwinn wheels. Who knows where this will lead...I splurged on a new helmet with British racing stripes and a bright red, Nantucket wicker basket--always need that pop of red....this cycle journey is developing.

Welcome to my world. Have a fabulous rest of the #week and #weekend friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. For those of you who live in southern California or will be visiting, the vineyards in Temecula Valley are highly recommended! Gemma and Rikkhe approve 💖👑

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4 ความคิดเห็น

19 ม.ค. 2565

As usual, a beautiful, fascinating & invigorating cornucopia of books, wine, travel, and a new gift to yourself! Looking forward to the “clubhouse”.

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
19 ม.ค. 2565

Thank you, Jena! Looking forward to riding a bike again--and seeing some new sights here in SoCal. Clubhouse room should be fun--hope you will join us! Have a great week, xo. 💖👑


19 ม.ค. 2565

I love Wednesdays because of this blog! That wine cave is cool as heck! Seriously need to dream up stories so I can travel to cool places like this and call it research! Huge congrats to the authors mentioned and yay for the new Clubhouse! It‘s going to be fun and cool to hang out! Have a fab week! ✨

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
19 ม.ค. 2565

Thank you, UberHappy--loved the cave and can't wait to see where it ends up in book 7, LOL. Super excited for Murders We Write--a new chapter begins! 💖👑

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