I don’t know if you are aware but there is a big crisis in France! Forget about the DSK affair in Novotel, NY, forget about the UMP financing, or the François Hollande’s croissant au beurre adventure, we are talking seriously now: Vino Business from Isabelle Saporta is on TV tonight, on a public channel (France 3, 20h30). You were probably too busy, working all day with the wild world and so you almost missed it. No problem, now, that you are reading you will soon be at the top of the info.
To start the crisis is not about “La foire aux vins” which happens every year in September and which is a kind of joke made by the mass market about pretending you (the fool) will do a (very) good deal buying cases of wines for half of the price, sometime even less. Everyone is playing, journalist and sommelier who all year-long promote the independent market but only in September, maybe because summer was to quiet, like to do their wine-to-buy-at-the-supermarket list. Please, and I am begging you (on my 2 knees) don’t play!! the only one who does a good deal here will be the Supermarket.
You can read here Sandrine Goeyvaerts, La pinardothek, point of view one of my favorite wine bloggers, be aware it’s for Belge speakers only!
So no, the crisis is not about this eternal question “wine fair or not wine fair?” but about the good, the bad and the ugly in the french wine business.
This is supposed to be a documentary reporting the business in wine.
Have you seen Mondovino?
Mondovino was made in 2003, and it’s also a documentary who shows the Bordeaux, and Californian wine business compared to other areas more traditional. When you see this documentary it’s tempting to think that all the wines from Bordeaux or California are bad and at the opposite wines from Burgundy (as an example) are natural, biodynamic. It’s more like there is only the good and the bad in this story.
At first glance Isabelle Saporta seems to be a good person with nice ideas like decreasing the use of pesticides and chemical in the wine industry, France wine industry represents 3% of the agriculture but 20% of the use of pesticide. She used to work for different TV shows protesting for a come back to tradition in food. But today she presents her TV show like a bomb to the “bad” wine industry and again she is mixing up everything.
For example she starts informing/pretending that rain gives a good opportunity for vinegrowers to use their pesticides!
Who do you think like to spend more money (and time for instance) in their business and for what? increasing the price of the bottle at the end? Decreasing the margin? Let’s be serious no one is happy when its harvest risk to be lost because of a rainy summer, no one is happy to use pesticide for instance. Furthermore when you think they will be the first victims of the chemical.
She also mixes up the first growth wines from Bordeaux policy with all the other bordeaux wine producers policy. Doing that she takes the risk to give hard time on the little producers who already try to make quality wines but don’t have the same prestige because of this crazy classification made 200 years ago, those people who works hard to create new taste and new way of producing wine in Bordeaux.
It might sounds like an eternal french problem, the fact that in France we don’t like people who makes their living form their own production. We don’t like entrepreneurs, we don’t like “Patrons” why would we like people making wines, selling wines all around the world, working hard with a sensitive and lively raw material, who’s yield are dependent on unpredictable hazards such as the climate, and bugs? why would we support people who are keeping France culture overseas, who are trying to improve their “savoir faire” to produce something French can be proud of?
let’s be franc, making wine as any other agriculture production it’s risky, one fault and you can lose your harvest when you already need a low yield to produce good wine? Does it make sense in business? no, it doesn’t, wine makers are making wines by passion not for money. Who are we for judging and pretending we know the truth about winemaking?
Everyone already know that French prefer to criticize anyone who try to make a living from their passion. It often sounds like a bad thing to make money in France even if you are employing people, creating good things.
I am not here to judge or to get angry as I know we all agree on the same thing: We love wine and we love wine makers.
Should I remind here that we all want the same: Improve the research to be able to produce good wines with no use of chemical.
It’s easy to get wine lovers confused with fake data just to sell more paper, we see that all the time in other businesses (pharmaceutical, food industry) but those wine makers are the guardians of one strong symbol of my country and other wine countries, they are part of our culture. We already have a trouble with alcohol content, why making their life tougher when they are the first willing to improve their quality.
I like to promote good organic wines, sustainable and biodynamic viticulture, but I am aware that we still need chemical as, even if you want to be the most natural in your production, vine is so sensitive, and climate so unpredictable that for now we can’t do without chemical everywhere.
Maybe the next TV show from Isabelle Saporta would be about the wine distribution business, but who would like to broadcast it?
Miss Glou Glou wrote a nice post to close the discussion, you can read it here everyone should watch this documentary (even mondovino) because you will learn about the wine business anyway, but don’t get fool, keep your mind well opened and watch it responsibly.
To read more and learn more about wine production please follow those blogs:
If you know other brilliant wine makers bloggers please add them in a comment.
My conclusion will be to follow this 3 rules:
-Only buy from an independent wine merchant or from the winery
-Meet the winemaker (not the brandmakers) through their social media
-Learn how to taste wine