KATE CIMAGLIA leaves her high-paying software engineering job in the Silicon Valley to pursue a less stressful career as a farmer. She buys a young, raccoon infested Zinfandel vineyard, but finances dictate that she does a little moonlighting computer work to pay the bills until the vineyard matures enough to generate a profit.

She knows nothing about growing grapes, so she hires vineyard manager ANDY CARMICHAEL, who must have been in the chiseled-jaw line when God was handing out charm. The two of them didn’t hit it off from the start, and Kate’s not sure they ever will, but there are times when she could just… punch him or kiss him, depending on her mood.

Grape broker PETE MERCADO helps Kate as much as he can. He finds a winery to buy her grapes and tries to make sure the grapes are delivered on time so Kate can get paid as soon as possible.

When the body of Beth, a young apprentice winemaker is discovered while Kate’s grapes are being harvested, Kate has no idea there is a connection between the dead girl and her latest assignment to straighten out the California wine grape harvest database. The last thing Kate needs is a corpse to deal with. She already has narcotics detective STEVE OBERMEYER hounding her after a stand of marijuana plants is discovered near her vineyard, and she’s sure her low-life neighbor DASH ZUCKER is the culprit, but convincing Obermeyer isn’t easy.

On top of that, her lying, cheating ex, ROGER, shows up after ten years and wants to pick up where things left off… yeah, like that’s going to happen, especially now that Kate is convinced Roger is the Grass Valley sniper taking potshots at passing cars in the middle of the night. But too-nice Kate can’t bring herself to turn him in until she knows for sure.

To make matters worse, she can’t balance the records she’s been hired to fix and it turns out she’s uncovered a massive case of fraud being committed by… well, she doesn’t know who, exactly, but she’s determined to find out. There are not enough Zinfandel grapes growing in all of California to support the number of gallons of Zinfandel wine that has been produced. Kate learns that Zinfandel grapes are nearly indistinguishable from Carignan grapes but sell for a lot more money.

An anonymous tip that suggests the murder is related to the illegal marijuana crop and the discovery that Andy had a relationship with the dead winemaker prompts Obermeyer to focus his investigation on Andy. In the meantime, multiple attempts to kill Kate cause her to question Andy’s innocence.

When Kate finally unravels the mystery of who forged millions of dollars worth of Zinfandel grapes, she discovers that the dead apprentice winemaker figured it out, too. Pete, her grape broker, has been profiting by selling cheap Carignan grapes as Zinfandel and pocketing the difference. The young winemaker was about to turn him in, so Pete graduated from grape forger to murderer.

If Kate doesn’t want to suffer the same fate as the dead winemaker, she has to act fast to save herself. Once Pete realizes Kate is on to him, he goes after her. A daring chase through the vineyard in the middle of the night nearly ends Kate’s life, but with the surprising help of the pesky raccoons and an old hand-dug open well, Kate wins the battle and Pete meets his well-deserved end.

  • Gina Cresse
  • Project Type:
    Screenplay, Television Script
  • Genres:
    mystery, romance
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Gina Cresse

Gina Cresse is a mystery writer who has authored the Devonie Lace Mystery Series, published by Avalon Books in New York.
• A Deadly Change of Course – Plan B
• A Deadly Bargain – Plan C
• A Deadly Change of Heart
• A Deadly Change of Power
• A Deadly Change of Luck

She has also self-published the following mysteries:
• Sinfandel -- a wine murder mystery set in California’s Central Valley.
• Colton P.I.—Second Unit -- features a stuntman/private eye.

She holds a Certificate in Feature Film Screenwriting from UCLA and has written the following screenplays:

• Plan B
o Based on her first novel, A Deadly Change of Course – Plan B
o Quarter-finalist in Scriptapalooza’s contest and also received a “Consider” from their coverage service

• Doing Time in a Bottle
o Top 10 finalist in the Feeding Frenzy contest
o Quarter finalist in ScreenCraft Family Friendly contest

• The Mona Lisa Caper
o Vitruvian Award Winner - DaVinci Film Festival
o Winner of the Scriptwriter’s Network HOP contest
o Finalist in the UCLA Extension Screenplay Competition
o Finalist in the Feeding Frenzy contest
o Semi-finalist in Story Pros Screenwriting contest

• Sinfandel - Adapted from mystery novel Sinfandel
o 1st Place Winner – Feature Screenplay – Hollywood Int'l Moving Pictures Film Festival

• Fixer Upper Christmas
o Agent Barry Perelman submitted synopsis to Hallmark

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