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See for new blog entries also http://arisderksen.wordpress.com

Blog from www.pen.org

Monday, June 7, 2010 4:03AM
Eternity
Posted By: Arnon Grunberg

A strange thing happened to me about a year ago. I received a letter from a Spanish wine importer: Was I interested in having a wine named after me? After all, it said, wine and literature make a nice combination.

This offer didn’t come completely out of the blue. In my collection of reportage, Chambermaids and Soldiers, I write about a visit to a monastery in Montenegro. The abbot there told me that the monastery produces wine, but the monastery has severe financial problems. I asked the abbot tongue in cheek if he was willing to name a wine after me in exchange for a little money. He answered, “Yes. That could be an interesting business arrangement.”

I believe his answer was a bit less tongue in cheek than my question.

I wrote about this in my piece, and I added the remark that an author should always bet on two horses. On the one hand, you have the eternity of literature. On the other hand, you have the eternity of wine. If one fails, there’s always the other.

The Spanish wine importer, who was born and raised in the Netherlands, told me that anyone interested in eternity should not bet on wine from Montenegro but on Spanish wine.

We met each other last year in New York.

The wine importer was a serious man with a dry sense of humour who told me that nobody should expect to get rich in the wine business.

I answered that nobody should expect to get rich in literature, although some people had managed to make a decent living as an author.

In November 2009, I travelled to Spain to visit the vineyard where “my” wine was going to be produced. At the vineyard, I got a lecture about all the technicalities of winemaking. I should have made notes, because I hardly remember a tenth of the lecture.

Then there was a wine tasting. After the twelfth glass of wine, I had forgotten the taste of the first glass. I was not going to be a convincing wine connoisseur, but I did my best to act as convincingly as possible that I had a sensitive palate.

I signed a contract with the wine importer.

It wasn’t going to make me rich, but it was a pleasant thought to be able to offer friends a glass of my own wine.

In the winter, I decided that the name Arnon Grunberg Wine was a bit boring. I proposed to name the wines—I had signed a contract for three red wines—after influential thinkers: Freud, Marx and Schopenhauer.

My friend thought that it was pretentious to put a bottle of Freud on the table, but I believe that it is a sublime irony.

This fall, the wine will be in the shops.

Often I dream about it. I see cellars full of unsold Freud wine.

Perhaps a writer should not bet on two different horses; he should stick to his core business: writing.

 

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