At FENAVIN today the writer and journalist Juan Cruz, who was born in the Canary Islands, has been in charge of moderating the round table "Wine and the Novel" in the company of the writers Luis Landero, Clara Sánchez and Manuel Hidalgo
The sixth edition of the National Trade Fair on Wine has hosted the round table "Wine and the Novel" which has represented a discussion on the impact of wine in the writing of novels of all times, the same with prominent Spanish writers such as Juan Cruz, Luis Landero, Manuel Hidalgo and Clara Sánchez. The writer and journalist Juan Cruz has been in charge of moderating the round table, pointing out that wine is health and life, reminding the audience that "if there is wine, there is life."
During this lively reunion, in the midst of jokes and camaraderie, the novelists all expounded on the extraordinary influence of wine in literature, mainly in Mediterranean culture, "in which wine practically has a nutritional component, as what would have been of poor little Lazarus on those cold windy days, or of the protagonist of The Celestine in the solitude of her old age or of Sancho Panza, following the battering and beatings", Luis Landero asked himself. In the opinion of the writer and guitarist, which he also is, wine already appears in the Odyssey, although it is in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque when it truly reaches its greatest significance.
The mystical-religious component of wine has not gone unnoticed in the novel, Manuel Hidalgo put forward, recalling whether due to analogy or influenced by the bible, "it used to be said that wine served the purpose of creating blood cells". Then immediately remembering that the blood of Christ comes to metaphorize wine and it is present in Jesus' first miracle, in the transformation of water into wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana and in the Last Supper.
Wine has always been an object of esteem, an elegant element, restrained, intelligent, yet also an object of excess, Hidalgo said. "And in literature the first thing that comes to mind are the story lines in which wine is linked to bad habits and to the misfortunes of the working class," recalling the numerous episodes depicted of workers leaving the taverns.
Another topic of discussion at the round table dealt with those writers that consume wine while creating their novels. Hence, the journalist Juan Cruz mentioned a few postwar men of letters and creators such as Aldecoa, Azcona or Ángel González, "who always preferred wine over whiskey, because, as he said, whiskey goes straight up to my feet".
On her part, the writer Clara Sánchez, who will be receiving the Gold Medal of Castilla-La Mancha this year, has underlined the extraordinary importance of wine in literature, immediately after admitting that, despite not knowing much about wine, she recognizes that wine has outlived the empire of whiskey, which is highly present in the contemporary novel, while in turn expressing her regret at the fact that the French have known how to sell their wines in the world of cinematography and the novel.
In reference to the future novel, the columnist Manuel Hidalgo admitted that he does not know whether the new culture of wine, the culture that discusses consumption of wine in moderation, how to hold a wine glass… will actually generate new works. He also explained that in wine, as in life, "if the use applied to it is harmonious, integral and moderated, then it is not interesting for the novel; however, its effects are indeed interesting, conducive as they are on the one hand to laughter, to the nonsensical, to comedy or on the other, illness and tragedy."
All the speakers at the table were of the same opinion in this sense, pointing out that in order for the topic to be novelistic, there must be an overabundance, "just like the wine or rather the 'wine of the poor' in taverns". The same representing an essential element in the classical works, the path or the way, that the protagonist takes, following the battle with his enemies, to then sit down at a table and enjoy the viands, a glass of wine and a few stories.
Finally, the moderator, Juan Cruz, mentioned that wine gives life a sensation of health that is far and beyond any other romantic considerations, recalling his childhood, when his mother would give him 'Sansón wines, a tonic aperitif wine', whenever he felt ill.
The writers were all pleasantly surprised by FENAVIN's momentous signification. In words of Juan Cruz, it is an extraordinary initiative, in particular if we take into account that Ciudad Real is one of the most important capitals in Europe in wine matters. In the opinion of the Canary Islands born writer, FENAVIN is the point of reference in commercial advances, where a great level of professionalism is to be seen.
Clara Sánchez brought the round table to its conclusion with a poem by Alonso del Toro, dating from 1530, in which he penned reflections on the wines of La Mancha.
In Consuegra and Madridejos
And in Alcázar and Villafranca
In all these towns, even if nary a penny you have,
Wine you will be given.
In Manzanares, Daimiel
La Membrilla and La Solana
And the entire Campo de Montiel
Much wine they do serve
In Valdepeñas and El Moral
Angelical red wine
Sweeter than honey.