Natalie MacLean, a bestselling wine writer, is shocked when her husband of twenty years, a high-powered CEO, demands a divorce. Her year gets worse when an online mob of rivals comes for her career.
Wavering between despair and determination, she must fight for her son, rebuild her career, and salvage her self-worth using her superpowers: heart, humour, and an uncanny ability to pair wine and food.
Natalie questions her insider role in the slick marketing that encourages women to drink too much while she battles the wine world’s veiled misogyny. Facing the worst vintage of her life, she reconnects with the vineyards that once brought her joy, the friends who sustain her, and her own belief in second chances.
This true coming-of-middle-age story is about transforming your life and finding love along the way.
* Now available in paperback and e-book. Audiobook coming soon.
Zesty, vibrant, meditative, edgy, structured, intense—these words Natalie MacLean might use to describe wines all apply to her Wine Witch on Fire. With clear-eyed honesty and needle-sharp probing, her memoir covers a time of personal and of professional crisis. Dire, yes, but the book is funny and a page turner. Anyone at a crux will be buoyed by this writer’s grit and grace.
Wine Witch on Fire Media Reviews
Wine wizard wordsmith, enchanting interviewer, battle-tested survivor, fierce mother, witty, wise—Natalie MacLean is the whole package. Sip a great wine while you savor her memoir.
- Gus Clemens, USA Today/Gannett
Natalie MacLean has written a book that will resonate with women from many different generations and fields. Filled with grit and vulnerability, MacLean examines the hardest parts of being a woman in a man’s world with honesty and poise. A read filled with healing and hope.
- Victoria James, bestselling author of Wine Girl
Rousing, funny, and insider-y, Natalie MacLean's soul-baring memoir paints an evocative and compelling picture of what it’s like to be a woman in wine.
- Nell McShane Wulfhart, bestselling author of Off Menu and New York Times columnist
This deeply personal memoir tells the inspiring story of a talented woman navigating the treacherous currents of the wine industry, finding her voice and regaining her power through a true connection to time and place, human terroir.
- Chef Michael Smith, bestselling author of ten cookbooks, Food Network host, Order of Canada
Natalie MacLean opens her heart with authenticity to the pain of love lost, the joy of discovering new love, and the endless questions of balancing parenting with being a working professional. Her love of language is a joyous counterpart to her love of viticulture. I learned so much from this fine memoir and I have a strong sense its appeal to the artist in all of us is limitless. ... read moreread less
- Ken Goldstein, bestselling author of Endless Encores and From Nothing
Natalie has crafted her experience into what could pass for an unputdownable thriller. It’s all the more jarring because it’s based on fact. I loved the tension and fast-paced writing. Any man who has a daughter, sister, or mother should read this book. Women with a little witch and fire within them will enjoy it too. ... read moreread less
- Steven Laine, bestselling author of Dragonvine
Natalie MacLean offers readers a look into the magical world of wine, addressing head-on its problematic treatment of women throughout the industry. I came away from this book feeling less alone, as if I'd shared a great bottle with a friend and talked through the life problems we all experience at some point. ... read moreread less
- Rachel Signer, author of You Had Me at Pét-Nat
The not-yet-released offering from Natalie MacLean is called Wine Witch on Fire. It's eye-opening, provocative and well worth the read because it opens the door to views of wine that are unique, personal and fueled by emotion.
- Cathy Huyghe, wine columnist, Forbes
Courageous—that’s the first word that comes to mind while reading Natalie MacLean’s new memoir Wine Witch on Fire. MacLean is an accomplished wine writer, but this deeply personal book takes us behind the scenes, revealing one woman’s journey and extraordinary determination.
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Private Online Book Club Gathering & Tasting with Natalie
Let’s taste wines from the book together. You can easily purchase these or the substitutes I’ll recommend in a custom shopping list for you. I’ll share the stories behind the wines and the book, read a few of my fave passages, plus you can ask me anything during an open Q&A session at the end.
Personally Autographed Bookplates
Beautifully designed bookplates that I’ll personally autograph to you and to your friends and family. These will be physically mailed to you so you can affix them to the inside front page to personalize your gift books or donations to schools and libraries.
Wine Witch Wine & Book Club Guide
Discussion- and thought-provoking questions for each section in the book that will help you bring your story to mine. Even if you don’t have an “official” book club, the questions in this guide will help you dig even deeper into the issues raised in the book for yourself, or in discussion with a friend.
6 Wine and Food Pairing Templates
A set of six pairing templates for every major food group: vegetarian, seafood, chicken, beef, pasta and chocolate. Access them on any device or print them out as a handy reference.
Customized Music Play List
This playlist includes songs mentioned in the book, plus bonus tracks I’ve handpicked for you. These tunes helped me stay strong through my divorce and depression and then through writing this book. Dance it out!
Early Bird Bonuses
Pre-order early to get in all of the disappearing bonuses
A series of private, exclusive tasting webinars: March 30 (pairing wine with snacks), April 20 (pairing wine and spring produce), and May 1 (pairing wine with BBQ faves).
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All Bonuses Included with 1-4 copies, PLUS:
A Personalized Video for You
I get a lot of requests for personalized videos for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and other special occasions. Send me a couple of bullet points and I’ll create a two- to three-minute video just for you or for the person you ask me to address in the video wishing them well and sharing some tips to help them enjoy the wines they love even more.
The Lost Chapters
There are whole sections that I wrote for Wine Witch that ended up being edited out, not because they weren’t good, but because keeping a book tight is an editor’s job. But the good news is I still have that material, and it’s included in this package.
Exclusive Audio Interviews with Main Characters
What’s happened since with the main characters in the book, including Daniel, Cameron and Mom? What’s changed in their lives in the ten years since the story took place? What are their perceptions of the book and how they’re portrayed in it? What kind of memoir would they write (if they wanted to) and how would they portray me?
Online Video Wine & Food Pairing Mini-Course
Food and wine pairing is my jam! (There’s a wine for jam, by the way.) Five video modules that you can binge-watch Netflix style in an evening or spread out at your own pace because you get lifetime access to this course. I’ll take you through the key pairing principles to deepen your pleasure with every glass and bite.
Three out of five people want to write a book, and the other two are curious about the process. Even if that’s not you, you can always gift this workshop to someone else. I’ll dive into my own journey with three books, with insights into writing, getting an agent and publisher, and marketing a book.
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2. Buy them for your employees or colleagues to raise awareness of workplace gender inequity and sexism.
3. Give the book to someone with whom you’d like to discuss the issues this book raises.
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Each page on my site started with the wine’s name, vintage, vineyard, region, a bottle shot, my score, and tasting note. There were about thirty pieces of information for each wine, from alcohol levels to maturity dates for drinking. With this much detail, especially on a mobile screen, I used abbreviations for repetitive information. Regional designations, such as Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, were noted as AOC, sugar codes were XD (extra dry), alcohol by volume as ABV, and so on. I linked to my site directory where these abbreviations were spelled out.
On the review page for each wine, under all of these details, as well as my own tasting notes, food pairings and scores, I had a separate section labelled in large, bold font as Other Reviews. This is where I quoted reviews from the liquor store site. After each one was a dash with the writer’s full name and my source, the LCBO’s Vintages Wine Catalogue, to show this review was a quote and not my own. I made sure there was a clear division between my reviews and those quoted so as not to imply the others were my own. That would be plagiarism, which is often confused with copyright. This was not that.
The only information behind my subscription paywall was my score and tasting note for wines I’d reviewed in the past thirty days. My older reviews were posted with open access, as were the reviews from the liquor store site under the Other Reviews section, no matter the date.
Both the U.S. copyright law of fair use and Canada’s fair dealing allow for the use of copyrighted material without asking for permission if the use falls under the categories of criticism, review, commentary, or education, among others. The Canadian law states that if the work referenced is for these purposes, and the source is cited, it’s legal. It does not specify how or where the source needs to be cited.
Most of the reviews I quoted were no more than a sentence or two, often representing less than 1 percent of the reviews published by that source. For example, a large wine magazine can publish over one hundred thousand reviews a year. The liquor store might quote three or four reviews from that source in a catalogue, because they quoted from many other sources. I was following what I thought was common practice back in 2012, the heyday of content aggregators like the Huffington Post, along with social media sharing and curating.
I decided to get legal advice and spoke with a lawyer who was an expert on copyright law. He advised me that I was well within the Canadian fair dealing law. Regardless, I decided to delete all of the quoted reviews.
Natalie MacLean is living a life that is the definition of resilience. In her empowering new memoir ‘Wine Witch on Fire’ she takes us on her incredible journey filled with love, anguish and fearless determination. Natalie’s story is an inspiration and guide to living well and fearlessly. A fabulous read!
WINE WITCH ON FIRE
Book Launch Team
Wine Witch on Fire Reader Reviews
If you liked Eat Pray Love
Carly O’Brien, Ontario, Canada
Natalie's whip smart, funny, got her shit together and been through the wringer. I love the way she writes. Moments where she shared the tension between two ideas are magic. Who will want to read this book? Women, ally men, those in the wine world, some who love gossip and scandal and exposés, people who love this industry and want to see it continue to advance, trailblazers, people who do things differently, readers of her previous books, witch enthusiasts :) If you like Liz Gilbert's Eat Pray Love or Cheryl Strayed's Wild, then you'll like this memoir. ... read moreread less
Really resonated with me
Kathleen Smith, Rhode Island
Natalie shares a journey of success and strength, but as we all know life has its bumps along the way I too started in wine later in life, family and all of the challenges in between so I can relate to her triumphs and tribulations on SOOO many levels, specifically as a woman. Her book has given me food for thought (and a thoughtful pause) as to how I should better approach the wine industry, social media etc. So thank you for your voice, Natalie, and for speaking honestly about what you went through. It really resonated with me! ... read moreread less
Joycelyn Au, Alberta, Canada
Love this story. The writing - Wow! Very moving. Evoked emotion. As I read this book, I thought that these are lessons all of us have needed to learn no matter what our situations are. I liked reading about how the conversations and time spent with her friends helped her and how they all became closer and more honest with each other. It also helped me understand a little more about how wine is marketed. Natalie is a courageous, intelligent woman who has gone through a lot and has come out of it with grace. Her story will inspire people. ... read moreread less
No way to stop reading
Janusz Madejski, Gliwice, Poland
So clever, wise and personal. No way to stop reading. A thrilling story of someone facing the loss of her family, a professional position earned for years, and ability to earn money to live. Yet she recovers from depression thanks to her strong will and remakes her life from scratch. This book covers topics which will be important for decades to come. I'm so happy I read this book - I learned a lot from it. How did Natalie guess what I felt that should be the book ending? I did not 'know' it. I just longed for 'something' like that - and she made it ... read moreread less
"Wine Witch" will make you laugh and cry
Mike Fischer, Wausau, Wisconsin
This book breaks from the lighthearted experience-based, somewhat self-depricating, and wine-review-based books, blogs, and podcasts Natalie MacLean is well-known and celebrated for. "Wine Witch" will make you laugh and cry. While reading, you will experience frustration and discouragement along with the author's courage, determination, and willingness to learn about herself. Many readers will relate having had experiences similar to those of author Natalie MacLean either in their personal relationships and marriage or in their work and career. The book may bring up emotions and feelings perhaps buried deep... ... read moreread less
Natalie MacLean has been through hell and back — misogyny, sexism, social media trolling — but her words are heartfelt and her journey inspiring.
Wine Witch on Fire Videos
In this CHCH interview, Natalie chats about her new memoir.
In this video Natalie is still talking about her memoir - oiy!