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  • Jancis Robinson
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
21 Dec 2010

Ryan O'Connell of O'Vineyards is a young man doing his best to get some publicity for the small, pretty and distinctive wine region where he is based, Cabardès just north of Carcassonne in the western Languedoc. He is an active tweeter @mroconnell and begetter of

In fact Cabardès is only just in the Languedoc, on its north-western limit. West of here the terrain is definitively influenced by the Atlantic rather than the Mediterranean and cereal crops predominate. East of here is Vineland. The growers of Cabardès are therefore allowed - nay, required - to grow a mix of Mediterranean and south-western grapes. Here (as in the much more co-op-dominated Malepère to the south) Syrah and Grenache commingle in the blending vat with Cabernet and Merlot.

O'Connell's lavishly illustrated 24-page e-book takes advantage of the medium with its Kindle-friendly interactive terroir map and is an enterprising first stab at self-publishing. He says that he found Monty Waldin's article about self-publishing quite a help.

O'Connell says,'I really hope other winemakers get motivated to write their own little books. We all have a lot of love for our land, and I'd love to wake up in a world where every appellation had its own book.'

I wonder how many more wine producers will be moved to invade the territory that used to be the preserve of professional (and many semi-professional) wine writers? It could be a perfect activity for the winter months in between those sales trips to Shanghai.

Ryan is selling his book here via Amazon's digital print-on-demand platform Whispernet at £2.21/$3.43 a pop, which includes 'free wireless delivery' and the VAT that is charged on digital (but not print) books. 

You can win a free copy via a competition on his own website at

Next week we'll be publishing dozens of reviews of more conventional wine books by another O', Paul O'Doherty, who reviewed the 2009 crop of wine books for us last year. 

28 Dec - George Meekers draws his self-published guide to the wines of Malta to my attention. Find out more here.