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New Portuguese wine book achieves funding target in four hours

Foot Trodden, a new book on the history and stories behind winemaking in Portugal, hit its £8,500 crowdfunding target in just four hours, and has now raised over £20,000.

Foot Trodden is being self published by wine writer Simon J Woolf and writer and photographer Ryan Opaz, who previously co-authored orange wine tome Amber Revolution.

The crowdfunding campaign was launched at 6pm on 18 February, with the pair hitting their initial target just four hours later. The book, which will be published in October, now has a total of 291 backers and has raised £20,436 at the time of writing.

According to figures on BackerKit, which measures the performance of crowdfunding campaigns, Foot Trodden is the fastest-funded wine publishing project and is on course to become the most-funded wine book. Currently Steve de Long’s Wine Maps of the World holds this title.

Potential backers can opt to receive rewards depending on how much they invest. These range from a discounted copy of the book to a hand-painted Portuguese tile, custom t-shirts or a luxury tour of Portgual’s wine regions (€6,500) when travel is permitted.

Woolf and Opaz spent three years travelling across Portugal, speaking to winemakers and learning more about the country’s traditional wine customs.

Stories featured in the book include an art teacher that developed a love of wine through meetings with a Buddhist monk and ultimately decided to grow vines in the wettest part of Portugal using the principles of biodynamics, and a Lisbon winemaker who spent 20 years persuading the EU to give his unique medieval wine style legal status.

The campaign will be live until 17 March. Woolf and Opaz will use the additional funds to increase the print-run and include an additional section on Madeira. Should the campaign reach €25,000, the authors will edit and publish a six-episode podcast series featuring in-depth interviews with winemakers and growers they met along the way.

The book is an an attempt to redress what Woolf describes as “the frustrating paradox that Portugal is in the midst of a golden age of artisanal winemaking, yet most of the world still hardly thinks beyond cheap Vinho Verde and ruby Port”.

With exports of Portuguese wine rising consistently year-on-year, the authors of Foot Trodden believe the country’s wine history and culture should receive more attention.

Woolf told db that the crowdfund’s success had “really exceeded our expectations”. “We are so happy that people are excited about Portuguese wine,” he added. “Ryan and I are absolutely thrilled at the level of support we’ve received. For us this is a vindication that there is interest in Portuguese wine, and that it is critically under-served when it comes to books written in the English language.

“We are hopeful that our campaign will continue to be popular, and that we can get our message out to even more people over the next three weeks. Meanwhile we are hard at work finishing the writing and photo-editing of the book, with our editing, layout and design team expected to start work on the project in April.”

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