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THE WORLD OF NATURAL WINE Turns One
How it started, how it's going. Plus: errata!
Today marks one year since the release of my book, The World of Natural Wine. I want to take the occasion to send beaming heartfelt thanks to everyone who pre-ordered the book, everyone who purchased the book since its release, everyone who borrowed their friend’s copy and never returned it; and, of course, everyone who came out to say hello at the various book shindigs we threw from Paris to London to Copenhagen, from Toronto to Portland to Brooklyn, and beyond. (With extra special thanks to the kind restaurateurs, wine retailers, event organizers who’ve hosted me along the way!)
After spending all these years squirrelled up in France nattering into the ether about sulfites and filtration, it’s been a huge joy to meet so many like-minded natural wine aficionados. I don’t know if the book will change hearts and minds in the wider wine world. But it’s nice to have it out there, a voice of dissent amid the point scores, tasting notes, and industry pablum.
For anyone wondering how The World of Natural Wine is doing these days, below is a little F.A.Q. sheet. I’ve also finally gotten around to compiling a list of mildly embarrassing errata, which subscribers can find here.
That’s all for now. Part II of the first Not Drinking Poison podcast series, PARIS NATURAL WINE LIFERS, is coming next week.1 And a second podcast series is already basically in the bag! Look out for it in October, along with, I hope, another full issue devoted to a certain region of France.
Many thanks for reading, as always!
THE WORLD OF NATURAL WINE, ONE YEAR IN: F.A.Q.
How is the book selling?
I don’t really know. The last official figures I have are from January 2023. Extrapolating optimistically, I think I might see royalties next year. Which is good, because my advance was not gigantic, and I spent it all (and then some) producing the actual book.
Why is it so hard to find the book in Europe?
Book distribution, it turns out, is a gigantic mess and makes wine distribution look as rational as a game of chess. Initially the book was scarce in Europe because the publisher’s EU partners were apparently not aware that natural wine was a thing. Then the book became scarce in Europe due to distributor discombobulation related to Hachette’s acquisition of my publisher, Artisan Books.
The book remains scarce in Europe because many book distributors are apparently in the habit of actively discouraging the development of new accounts from establishments that are not bookstores. Anyway. If you would like to place a wholesale order for The World of Natural Wine, see detailed instruction here - and if you meet any resistance from distributors, please let me know.
Will there be a French translation?
It’s not looking likely. I’m given to understand that big books with lots of images are rarely translated, because of the expense involved in redesigning all the page layouts in the new language. That said, I’m all ears, if anyone hears of foreign publishers interested in adapting The World of Natural Wine.
How’s the feedback been?
No vignerons have sworn revenge or anything. In a particularly rewarding instance of second-hand feedback, my Irish chef friend Hugh Corcoran kindly gave a copy to Raquel Carena and Philippe Pinoteau a.k.a. Pinouche of foundational Paris natural wine bistrot Le Baratin. Upon skimming the book, Pinouche noted approvingly, “There aren’t any people we don’t know in here.”
I’m working on another book pitch, and putting together series II and III of the NOT DRINKING POISON podcast, which, to my great satisfaction, a new subscriber recently described as “super inside baseball.” I just became a dad, which will put a slight crimp on travel. But there’s still a lot in store for the autumn, including (but not limited to) reports from the Roussillon, Slovakia, and Denmark.
The World of Natural Wine is pretty universally available on Amazon, for what it’s worth, and at many fine independent bookstores throughout the USA. I see there are also, at time of writing, six copies remaining on the site of Athenaeum in Beaune.
From what I understand, keeping books in circulation is a momentum-based sort of thing. The more The World of Natural Wine sells, the longer it will remain available to countervail the malign discourse of the conventional wine industry and its legions of shills. Something to keep in mind for the holiday season. 🎅
FURTHER READING & LISTENING
It turns out it’s remarkably hard getting people to keep podcast appointments. I suppose this is related to the tacitly non-urgent nature of podcast reporting. It’s like I’m asking people to help me shampoo my carpet or something.