It is no secret that the French love wine. But they are also the world’s second-biggest consumers of graphic novels after the Japanese.
Now a new wave of literature is putting the two passions together — comics for adults about wine.
The genre that was completely unheard of little more than a decade ago has jostled itself on to the bookshelves, with a festival dedicated to it booming among the vineyards near Bordeaux.
BD & Vin — meaning graphic novels and wine — is the brainchild of winemaker Romain Sou, whose Chateau Lacouture domaine is just across the Gironde estuary from the fabled Chateau Margaux.
“I love graphic novels and I love wine and so do most of my friends.”
“But 10 years ago when we started, it wasn’t at all obvious that there would be a thirst for BDs (graphic novels) about wine,” he said.
Ironically, it was the phenomenal success of the Japanese manga series “Drops of God” which turned the French onto the potential of comics about wine.
The story of a Japanese beer company employee, who must correctly identify 13 wines from his father’s collection to inherit his wealth, made several obscure French winemakers stars overnight in Asia.
It also sparked runs on some wines featured in the series, including the Bordeaux Chateau Mont-Perat, with one Taiwanese importer selling 50 cases in two days.
Decanter magazine declared the manga “arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years”, and its authors, sister and brother Yuko and Shin Kibayashi, taste setters.