In the second part of the podcast interview by Lawrence Francis I talk about the making of The Wines of India, a Concise Guide. Many find it curious I chose to write a book on Indian wines: some would have never thought there is such a thing as Indian wine; others wonder what a white Central European has got to do with wines made in South-East Asia.
I arrived in India for the first time to discover its many sights and enjoy white sandy beaches in Goa. The trip was such a success that we returned in successive winters in an attempt to escape winter in Europe. It was not until 2012 thought that I proposed to my partner to swap the list of must-see tourist attractions for a five-day wine trip, touring producers in the South Indian states of Karnataka and Maharashtra, which resulted in a couple of articles published in magazines in the UK and Hungary.
Writing necessarily includes desk research and fact checking. However, unlike established wine producing regions or countries in the world, such as Bordeaux in France, Napa Valley in California, the USA or Stellenbosch in South Africa, just to list few; it was impossible to find any reference on India or Indian wines. The gap in the market presented itself in a fairly obvious manner to me.
Winning the Geoffrey Roberts Award in 2014 put the moral impetus on me to fulfil my promise of authoring the first-ever guide to Indian wines. Little did I know it would be the start of a hugely exciting exploration from Tamil Nadu in the very south of India up to Madhya Pradesh. I met a myriad of interesting personalities: from rural grapegrowers via investors, sommeliers and merchants to winery owners and oenologists included.
In addition to unearthing the birth of the modern Indian wine industry and putting it on the world map of wine through my book – even in the literal sense, as I commissioned the same cartographers, who made the maps for Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson MW’s The World Atlas of Wine –; I learnt new skills, such as, managing publishing projects, coordinating print production, incorporating and running a limited company or driving PR and marketing in book publishing.
Why not listen to part two of Lawrence’s podcast to learn the essentials about Indian wines and what it takes to write and publish an award-winning book?