DEREK MOSSMAN KNAPP was born in Toronto in western Ontario, Canada in 1964. He has an older brother and a younger sister. Their father worked in the mining industry and Derek remembers “cracking rocks in goldmines” as a summer job. Free time at weekends was spent ski-ing in private ski clubs in Canada, and one of his ambitions was to ski professionally, but when a trip to New Zealand was cancelled “because it really didn’t snow there that year” the family went to Chile instead. This ignited a passion for Latin American. He worked and travelled for six months in Chile, and got into the Spanish language and magical realism, a genre of narrative fiction then in vogue and associated with Latin American literature (Mossmann also read a lot of French-language books too). “I just wanted to read.” He subsequently studied literature at university in Toronto, and completed his Masters in New York in 1992, aged 28. He came into contact with wine via a cycling trip (7,000km) around continental Europe with a friend whose father was in the wine business.