Say you’re about to finish work and you get a message from your spouse, asking you to purchase a good bottle of wine on your way home, as a close friend had invited you both for dinner at her place.
On the way, you pull into a liquor store and quickly dash towards the section where a neatly stacked assortment of wines from various countries, is displayed.
Soon you find yourself browsing through the finest red wines produced in France, Spain and Australia – but cannot decide on any, as every single one of them was equally good and touted similar stories of being made from the finest grapes and berries, along with their standard tasting notes.
Just then, next to these bottles, on the ‘new arrivals’ section, a label catches your eye, of an old lady with a handful of wild berries, dressed in rural attire, seems to be smiling her heart out - even though the prominent wrinkles that riddled her face, tells a different story of hardships and struggle…
You read further to learn the lady’s name is ‘Maya Tsering’ and she is 71 years old. She hails from a Gurung village, situated in the remote hills of Nepal, and is one of the active members of her community, which comprises of 150 households.
The community which survived on subsistence farming since generations has recently found a new way of generating more income – ‘berry picking’. Maya and her community members collect wild berries from the forest that grow above 8000 feet and sell it to an entrepreneur who makes 12000 bottles of Nepali wine per year, called ‘hinwa’ (the one you’re holding now)…
With the extra income from the berries, Maya has been able to send her two granddaughters to school and is rearing couple of goats to sell in the upcoming festive season.
The story ends with: With every bottle you purchase, 2% of the amount goes to a local charity in Maya’s village, which is utilising the funds to build six new classrooms, to accommodate more students and to expand its services as a Higher Secondary School.
Which one will you choose? - The French wine, or Maya’s Nepali wine?