Writing a Guide to the Cradle of Wine: my sober story

Writing a Guide to the Cradle of Wine: my sober story

Have you ever wanted to write a book? Quick googling showed that around 80% of people would say yes to this. It looks like a great thing to do: become famous, an opinion leader, earn a fortune, sign hundreds and thousands of copies, be admired and respected…

Now, as the travel guide to the wine regions of Georgia by Miquel Hudin and me is already one month old, I want to share my experience and emotions of becoming an author. If you are here, you might know my story, right? A Ukrainian who worked as a sports journalist in Ukraine and lived in Germany suddenly moved to Georgia, because she liked the country, and then the war started in her hometown, and life in Tbilisi became brighter and brighter, and here she is, Daria the Georgian…

Jokes aside, I really enjoy my life here, and I enjoy sharing my experience about traveling and living in Georgia. That was the key. When Spanish-based wine writer and sommelier Miquel Hudin has completed his research about Georgian wines and wineries, he was looking for the information about good restaurants and places to go, and I happened to be in Google’s first picks almost all the time. So Miquel and his wife Elia considered contacting me during their next trip to Georgia… and we bumped into each other in the National Museum.

Magic of little accidental meetings is a very Georgian thing.

After a lunch together I agreed to become a co-author. My area of responsibility was travel tips, food tips, Georgian language (haha!) and everything related to local life. So if you will buy our “Guide to the Cradle of Wine”, that will be me who will tell you how to navigate Georgian transport, who is merikipe, what is azaphesha and so on.

My ego was singing, as I was explaining the Georgian spelling and mentioning some places my local friends have never visited. It was kind of an exam for me.

The writing process took me several months: we started writing in fall and finished by the mid-spring. I was opening the Dropbox with the future book after the working hours at my main job, staying in the office longer, sometimes till 22:00 or 23:00. During that period, I also had to travel to Berlin twice and dedicate a lot of time to the Georgian booth at Green Week and ITB fairs; traveled to Vienna and Prague, and was completing some tasks in between. Now, looking back at that time, I understand that I was not aware how tough it was.

And now the intriguing part of publishing and becoming rich. I thought that if you are a writer, you send your manuscript to a publishing house, and if they considered it to be good, you are published, you get royalties, and the publisher promotes your book.

The “Guide to the Cradle of Wine” is Miquel’s 10th book, and he knows how it all works. Taking into consideration this experience, he decided for self-publishing option.  While I invested just my time and knowledge in the book, his part was much more complex.

Just for you to understand how it can be (J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury case is not the only one possible): Miquel was writing in Spain, me in Georgia, the designer was somewhere else, and the publisher was in Hong Kong. That is one of the cheapest places to publish a high quality book as ours.

And then we didn’t find a support with shipping it all to Georgia, so the boat with the books made the whole way from Hong Kong to Spain. About 50 books traveled to Georgia in the suitcases of Miquel and his mother Cathryn, as my employee (Georgian National Tourism Administration) decided to help us with presentation and invited Miquel to Tbilisi once again.

Miquel and Cathryn came for WinExpo; the book launch was there. Afterwards, a more informal presentation in Amber Bar has followed. So basically, the only support we’ve got was from friendly organisations (GNTA, WinExpo, Amber Bar), as well as from Geoffrey Roberts Award that has partially covered Miquel’s research. Sounds not very bohemian, but that’s the truth. And the presentations were fun, as well as holding the book, my first baby, and sign it, and sell it to the people who are into Georgian wines. Later in June, I also sold a couple of copies in Ukraine, while Miquel is sorting the international orders in the online-shop.

Besides that, he is doing really a lot, especially during his judging at Decanter Awards that is really big in the world of fine wines. The Georgian ones got some prizes this year, by the way. Another reason to buy our book and learn more, isn’t it?

And yes, first of all, you can order it online at the website Vinologuehttps://shop.vinologue.com/product/georgia-sakartvelo

I also collaborate with several wine bars in Tbilisi. For example, Dadi Bar (Dadiani st. 4) and wine bar and shop at Aghmashenebeli ave. 15 sell the “Guide to the Cradle of Wine” without any commission, and soon a couple of other wine and bookshops will have it too.

That’s how the life of a travel writer is sometimes. But I should confess, reality is still much better than on instagram 🙂

Stay tuned and be wine curious (the book will help, I promise!)

About Dariko

Born in Ukraine, now Tbilisi-based. Love seeing new places.