David Stevens Castro, author of PAIRED: Champagne & Sparkling Wine: “Being a foreigner was an advantage to publish our book”
Born in the South of Chile in a small town surrounded by nature and where everyone knows everyone. This was where his unconditional love for the land and all that it can produce grew, which later led him to study agronomy. At first, he wanted to travel the world. In 2007, he decided to leave for Australia as a backpacker and then to learn English. The following year he secured a sponsored visa opportunity, which allowed him to settle permanently in the country. It was at this stage of his life that he developed his new passion: Wines.
After many years of work, he published his first book in Australia, “PAIRED: Champagne & Sparkling Wine – The Food & Wine Matching recipe book for everyone”. Currently a bestseller in the United States. David Stevens Castro tells us about his journey, the ups and downs, with the Somos21 team.
What was the hardest part when you arrived in this new country?
Talking on the phone in English! In the beginning I was only able to understand 20 percent of what people were saying over the phone. If it was a professional call, I would try follow-up with an email to confirm the information that was discussed.
What was the main motivator for moving to Australia?
At the end of 2007, when I only had a month and a half before I had to return to Chile, I secured a 457 sponsorship visa with a blueberry producer, located outside of Byron Bay. I became an Australian permanent resident in April 2008.
You fell in love and married got married to Australian. When did you decide to start this project together?
My wife, Fran Flynn, is originally from Ireland and also became an Australian citizen. We’ve been together nine years, and the truth is, time flies. We got married in September 2014 and this is now our second year of being happily married.
Why did you want to write a book for country that already has such deep wine appreciation?
Our book was initially created for the international market, being foreigners originally from Chile and Ireland, we felt it gave us an advantage rather than a disadvantage because we could present an international perspective to our content. This book my wife and I have published, is a result of our combined home cooking skills,
and the beverages we share in our daily lives. Among the key motivators for this book, was the realisation that there was little know-how among the average wine consumer, and the sense of intimidation or disconnectedness with the information that currently exists.
What do you need to know when you want to start a business?
I think it is important to have endless motivation and persevere for your ideas from the outset, as well as find different ways to communicate and spread your business key messages, through different channels.
What was the hardest issue you have overcome when your book was published? Have you ever doubted the decision?
It was definitely allocating the time from our daily lives to finish the book, as well as securing the resources needed to publish it. Fran and I have recently married, we have our 2 year old son, Dante, and we both have full-time jobs. It was very challenging to find the extra time needed, where we could focus on “PAIRED Vol1. Champagne & Sparkling Wine – The Food & Wine Matching recipe book for everyone “.
Once we started to create our content based on home recipes, we never looked back. It became very entertaining and challenging task to taste and perfect each pairing of food and wine that we mention in the book.
What was it like to see for the first time your book published? Is there a special affection for the first?
Thrilling! To tell you the truth. When the first printed copies arrived, we were able to appreciate our work in our hands; even today it still feels amazing. But like everything, we must continue to work, continue with promotion and distribution to help sales and ensure it is visible for potential readers, at bookstores, libraries and winery cellar doors.
What has been the response by readers said about the book?
It is very interesting to see the response, especially since it had been internationally promoted via Amazon, which has allowed us to position ourselves in the US market. Here in Australia, we have a national distributor and we are dominating interest in bookstores and specialty stores, but there is still so much more ground to cover. In the last 12 months, we have focused on the promotion of our work through our agency LATIN PR who have managed to promote our book with food writers and restaurant critics, as well bloggers and influential people with large numbers of followers.
What are your current projects? Any new projects that can be shared?
Right now, we are preparing volume 2 of the series: PAIRED whites & roses. The idea is to cover 7 white wine varieties, and 2 pink wine styles, with a choice of home cooked recipes so that anyone can do. That is the biggest challenge, being creative and original, but in a simple, straightforward and entertaining way, so there is an incentive and joy to cooking.
At the end of 2016, with the onset of Christmas, we will launch the Kindle Edition of the book. The online format is widely used in the United States, and is less expensive than a print, which opens up another segment of the market that until today we had not explored. It is challenging but ambitious at the same time.