It’s been a year of firsts for wine writer Elizabeth Gabay MW. 2018 was the year that she turned her knowledge and expertise in rosé wines into her first published book, resulting in a subsequent whirlwind of events, talks and visits. She and her husband have also become empty nesters for the first time and are enjoying the opportunity to travel and discover new places. Here she shares the mostly highs from 2018 and what she got up to during the summer.
Elizabeth Gabay MW does not need to travel far to get the sun. Its normally beating through the windows of her Provence home in the morning. But when does get out and about she’s like the chance to spend quality time with the family, whilst plotting and planning future projects.
How has 2018 been so far for you?
Busy! My first book came out in January on rosé –Rosé, Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’ by Classic Wine Library/Infinite Ideas – and since then it has been non-stop go, giving masterclasses on rosé around Europe, writing and continuing research into rosé – it feels like a floodgate has been opened! as well as other wine work. Working on a new website and now planning my next book (more on that in October) has stopped me from getting bored!
Happiest or biggest achievement moment so far this year?
Business wise: Actually being published. It was a steep learning curve putting a book together, and an even bigger learning curve on how to market a book.
Personal: Becoming empty nesters – seeing my children have the confidence and enthusiasm to move on.
What are the biggest issues facing your business for the 12 months ahead?
Uncertainty of the current Brexit situation. I have no idea how being based in France and work and travel around Europe will be.
What steps can you take to address them?
That is a multi-million-dollar question. Just keep working and remain adaptable to whatever the political situation throws at me.
What did you get up to in the summer?
This summer has actually been quite busy with wine trips to Salento for the Terre de Negroamaro and Prague for the Winemaker of the Year awards, article writing etc. We changed plans last minute and decided to have a holiday in Yorkshire when we could take our daughter back to university. Living in the South of France a holiday doesn’t need the sun – it has been good to enjoy the North York Moors, visit some good pubs, and see friends.
How good are you at switching off on holiday and staying away from work?
Hopeless. Both my husband and I are freelance and self employed so we never really switch off. But holidays are more a time to catch up and talking about new projects, ideas, inspiration rather than actually ‘doing’, although there were vineyards in Yorkshire to visit, new restaurants to try, and the holiday has coincided with SITT in London this week.
It’s also good to have a change of environment and enjoy some quality family time. No day to day chores. I tend to make my new year resolutions while on holiday, when I have time to think. Time, space, freedom from routine are very liberating.
Any books you have been able to catch up on?
I have hundreds I would like to have done. Have been burning the candle at both ends recently, so get to bed too tired to even open a book. It’s been good to get into the pile next to the side of my bed.
Any recent films you are looking forward to catching up on?
Have to admit I am not a big film buff. My main film watching time is when I am ironing – so no complicated plots otherwise I burn the ironing! I need action and simplicity. My daughter got me on to the Marvel movies – great for ironing! My village cinema only shows films once a week – so sometimes get to see some interesting French films.
All time favourite film to watch when on summer holiday?
No films on holiday (no ironing!) During the summer we have a programme of concerts in my village which I love. Best concert this year was put on by a summer school for young composers. We sat in the baroque church listening to some really innovative music – it was so full of energy and inspiration I came out really buzzy. Pang Vongtaradon from Thailand is definitely a composer worth listening out for.
Favourite summer and holiday music?
Anything dancey. Folk music, Abba, rock, reggae – really not fussy as long as it has good rhythm. Not that I have anyone to dance with. My husband always seems to disappear at the suggestion of a dance….
Favourite music video that sums up a summer holiday?
Can’t remember when I last saw a music video – is that a sign of age? Although there is always one in the background at one village café, luckily on the TV indoors – so during the summer I can avoid it.
Bucket list holiday destinations that you have not got to yet?
Not a beach person or hot weather person. Like exploring and cities (maybe because I live in the country). Would love to explore far more of Europe – constantly amazes me just how much there is on my doorstep that I have never seen. This year was my first trip to Prague, Puglia, Verona. I would love to visit Milan and Turin and Valle d’Aosta…
I am also looking forward to hopefully catching up with my son somewhere on his travels and when my daughter is on holiday from university. Co-ordinating all four of us is not easy. Looking forward to fewer tourists and greater ease for travelling to town and around Provence.
- You can buy Elizabeth Gabay’s book on rosé here: Rosé, Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’.