A lively 19th-century saga about a scion of a French wine family who finds happiness--and zinfandel--in sunny California. In 1851, young Guy Saint-Savin, heir to a vast wine fortune, is returning to the ancestral vineyards near Bordeaux. He's been living in Paris (on an allowance) and making fiery speeches against King Louis-Napoleon. This has brought him the enmity of a number of powerful men--including his own father, Edouard, who insists that he stay at home and help with the business, which is failing. But when Edouard is killed by a creditor--and Guy kills the killer--he must flee for his life, leaving his beautiful sister, Solange, behind to marry a baron and make a go of the vineyards on her own. Meanwhile, Guy heads to America with his pregnant wife, Marie (who dies on shipboard, but presents him with a son), and eventually ends up in California, teaching the peasants how to really grow that grape. It's hard going--Guy has to contend with a lot of prejudice, especially from rival Damon Delaney (who even seduces Guy's new wife)--but finally the Frenchman triumphs, and even manages to return home and help out Solange, who has fallen on hard times during the Franco-Prussian War. A fresh, unpretentious, steadily engrossing first novel--good on wine, adventure, and affairs of the heart.