Sweet Bergamasque (Ravenswood 2017)
After a disastrous decade for wine in Bordeaux, Jean-Marc’s hopes of a good vintage in 1940 are dashed when the German army invades France and his wife flees with their children, fearing Nazi persecution. Jean-Marc is determined to protect his land even as the Bordeaux wine growers prepare for the worst while the Germans head south, plundering as they go.
Soon Bordeaux is occupied, Jean-Marc’s property requisitioned, and a weinführer appointed by Berlin to oversee a steady supply of wine to the Third Reich. Upon hearing of his family's deportation to Germany, Jean-Marc becomes drawn into the maquis, moving between collaborating wine farmers in their clandestine fight against the German occupiers. But nothing is ever straight forward....
Inspiration to write this book
During a holiday in Villefranche in the Dordogne in 2014 I found and read a crumpled copy of an old book about the German occupation of the major French wine regions during WW2 and the plundering by the Nazis of the best French wines. I was captivated by this forgotten history and the wonderful intrigue it captured, and became instantly inspired to create a fictional story that brought to life the musty elements recorded in that book. Sweet Bergamasque is my attempt to bring alive to readers an extraordinary chapter in French wine-making history.
Researching the details of wine making in the 1930s and 40s as well as the unique atmosphere prevalent at that dangerous time was time consuming but fascinating, and made all the easier because of my appreciation and enjoyment of fine wines.