Wine People by Michelle Wildgen

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An intoxicating escape into the cutthroat world of wine and the complicated terrain of women’s friendship.

Wren and Thessaly collide when they land coveted jobs at a glamorous NYC boutique wine importer. Hardworking, by-the-book Wren comes from a modest background and has everything to prove while Thessaly hails from a family of prestigious California growers―but she is plagued by self-doubt. Thrown together at work, where they're expected to have exquisite palates, endless tolerance for alcohol and socializing, and the ability to sell, they regard each other with suspicion.

It’s only on an important European business trip―with everything on the line―that they unexpectedly forge an alliance that will change the course of their careers and personal lives.

With mouth-watering descriptions of food and wine, Wine People is an utterly entertaining page-turner that takes readers from Sonoma to Italy while exploring how close friends can both misjudge and uplift each other.


Michelle Wildgen’s fourth novel will be published by Zibby Books in August 2023. Her first novel, You’re Not You, was adapted into a feature film starring Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review and Modern Love, O Magazine,, Best Food Writing, and elsewhere. A former executive editor with the award-winning literary journal Tin House, she is a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Madison, Wis. Her featured novel is Wine People.


“A riveting, behind-the-scenes portrait of a high-drama industry, from the chateau to the corner office…pour a glass and dive in.” —Oprah Daily

"So intoxicatingly real and so, so smart and moving, Wildgen’s novel plumbs the depths of female friendship through the lives of two indelible characters: outsider Wren and golden girl Thessaly, who both enter the wine business as young women, fiercely bond, and then go into business together. Grappling with who they really were and who they now are meant to be, both together and apart, this is a stunner about ambition, love, and family. Wine connoisseurs, foodies, and literature lovers will be enraptured." —Caroline Leavitt, author of With or Without You 

“Wildgen beautifully captures the shifting feelings and perspectives of a long friendship evolving over time, even as she illuminates a little-known corner of wine culture. An intriguing read!” —Andrea Barrett, author of Natural History

"An intoxicating story of friendship, workplace politics, entrepreneurship, and, of course, the elixir of the Gods, Wine People is all the wine metaphors and then some. Savor it." —Elisa Albert, author of Human Blues

“I blazed through this novel—a complicated, authentic examination of female ambition and friendship that also happens to be such fun to read.” —Vauhini Vara, author of The Immortal King Rao

“Wine People follows wine professionals Wren and Thessaly as they compete to become the heirs of a retiring New York City importer—but it's just as much about what happens after that. In sharp, sensory prose, Wildgen takes us from Madison, Wisconsin and Sonoma, California to Italy, France, and beyond. In her hands, wine is many things at once: a sometimes-destroyer of relationships, yes, but also an ancient art that bottles time and place. Smart and very funny, satirical but deeply felt, Wine People is an ode to the complexity of working friendships—as well as a shrewd, clear-eyed love letter to wine and the people who make, import, and drink it.” —Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists



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Wine People By Michelle Wildgen Cover Image
ISBN: 9781958506028
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Zibby Books - August 1st, 2023

A Time Magazine "25 New Books You Need to Read This Summer"

"A riveting, behind-the-scenes portrait of a high-drama industry, from the chateau to the corner office...pour a glass and dive in."--Oprah Daily

An intoxicating escape into the cutthroat world of wine and the complicated terrain of women's friendship.