Sonoma author's year of living vigorously

  • Paula Moulton, Sonoma author of 'Seasons Among the Vines, New Edition: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country and Paris.' (Handout 2014)

No one could accuse Paula Moulton of being a coward.

The writer wanted to do something daring with her life after sending her youngest daughter, Alexandra, off to college.

Moulton ultimately decided to follow the lead of famed chef Julia Child and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. But Moulton’s passion was not to master Coq au Vin. Her goal was to celebrate the grape in all its incarnations. For that reason, in the fall of 2011 she joined the school’s first wine management program.

And so it began, her adventuresome year in the City of Light.

“I decided to jump in and see if there was a net to catch me,” she said, with an easy laugh.

Moulton, 54, is a snappy dresser. She’s clad in a short dress, with a matching neoprene jacket (the rage in Europe, she said) and knee-high suede boots.

At her home in Sonoma, a farmhouse not far from the plaza, she has an orchard in full bloom. Mother Nature has given her with an abundance of peaches, nectarines and plums.

Moulton’s new book is “Seasons Among the Vines: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country and Paris,” and it highlights Cordon Bleu’s heady 10-month program.

The rigorous curriculum kept her stretching. She was a sommelier at the high-end restaurant, Citrus Etoile, on the Champs-Elysées for six weeks. She also spent time in southwest France as a cellar rat at Chateau Trolliet-Lafite in Bergerac for a month.

In France, she said, she was quick to learn this life lesson: Wine is food.

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