Most people go on tour to promote their book as soon as it comes out. However, I have never followed standard rules and regulations, and so far I avoided almost all book promotion.
So what changed???
At the beginning of 2019, the CIVC started to communicate extensively on their “zero herbicide policy, claiming they will erase all herbicides by 2025. This has been a very bold statement seeing that in 2015 still 95% of the producers used herbicides under the row and two thirds of the vineyards were still blanket sprayed. Updated figures (due at the end of 2018) have never been officially released, however at the AGM of the Association Viticulture Champenoise (AVC) in December last year, it was mentioned that since 2015 an extra 4% of the vineyard surfaces had refrained from herbicides. When I tried to get more details in January, the Technica Director of the CIVC told me the new figures would not be released till December. The reasoning behind this was to show the progress made this year, which made me hopeful things would finally really change. However, when spring started early, I very quickly realized nothing changed. The hillsides are as dead and barren as last year. The winter grass is slowly turning burned orange as all signs of life are being eliminated with glyphosate and other chemical herbicides. It seems thus that the zero herbicide policy so far is little more than a ploy to greenwash consumers.
Furthermore, at the AGM of Association des Vignerons Bio de la Champagne (ACB) held early March, usurping was raised as one of the main problems organic growers face today. It has escalated to such extent that the ABC has requested help from the INAO – the French National Institute of Quality and Origin – to combat it. It is therefore more important than ever that the concerned consumer has access to correct and precise information and this is the first reason decided the time to tour may have come.
The second reason is more personal. Until recently I have struggled to with the whole self promotion concept, partly because I see so much of it all around me, and partly because I don’t like the limelight. So uptil now I made up plenty of excuses of why I could not go out and promote my book. Moreover, since I sold more than 2,000 just through word of mouth, I was kind of wondering if it really would make a difference. But, when I read a fellow writer’s reasoning I changed my mind. He wrote that when one is passionate about a subject, the biggest joy is to go out and share it with the world. This thought stayed with me and really resonated and I knew I would have to hit the road at some time. But at the time I used my darling dog Betty (pictured on the front and back cover of the book) to still put things off. In March I lost my baby to Chronic Kidney Disease she contracted by ingesting herbicides and now I do not need an excuse anymore as I am finally ready.
So, like Eddie Murphy, I am coming to America and Canada. I chose America because it is the fastest growing Champagne market, and a country already enough exposed t “fake’ news. At the moment I have not worked the exact details out just yet, but I know I will be in the states from the 9th July till the 18th of August. The plan is to send pallet of books ahead and just hit the road, selling books while sharing my passion and answering questions. It’s scary and exciting – just as the crowdfunding campaign in 2014, the writing in 2015 and 2016 and the printing process in 2017. Yet I know that this journey will be just as joyful and rewarding as the journey of the previous steps. I hope to meet as many of you this summer and am more than open to any suggestions on where to go. (caroline at terroirchampagne dot com)
PS I will add a tentative travel schedule in the next few week