On Wednesday February 17, issue 648 of the Revue du Vin de France appeared on newsstands, promoting "Burgundy off the beaten track", including an initiatory journey to the heart of Chassagne -Montrachet.
For any winegrower, appearing in such media is an opportunity to highlight his work and his values. It is also an opportunity to defend your convictions and highlight your more environmentally friendly practices. It is also an opportunity to educate and transmit to wine lovers, to make them aware of current and future issues. It's a real boon to promote its know-how, its commitment.
For any reader, leafing through the latest issue of their favorite magazine means taking a step towards new landscapes. A step towards houses, castles, estates to which they perhaps did not yet pay attention. It is a leisure allowing him to travel the time of a reading and to escape towards horizons which, a few months ago, we were forbidden to cross. It is also an encounter with the faces that hide behind the wines they have tasted during their lives, during their holidays, during a dinner with friends.
The work of journalists falls between the two, between passing on know-how and curiosity. Important, necessary, essential work. But for some journalists, it is quite different. Because all that is an ideal vision of the press and other media. In real life, it's not so rosy. It seems interesting to me to tell behind the scenes and to explain how meetings between winegrowers and certain journalists and tasters can sometimes happen.
RVF tasting in the dry toilets of Loaris
Let's go back, not very far, to Wednesday, November 25, 2020. As president of the Chassagne-Montrachet appellation, I welcome Roberto Petronio with pleasure and enthusiasm in view of the report mentioned above in the RVF .
Are you always late? No problem, this is often due to the excessive generosity and hospitality of our fellow winegrowers.
Are you arriving with unexpected people in the middle of covid? No problem, sharing is rooted in our values.
You don't wear a mask and don't respect barrier gestures in full confinement? No problem, you have the right to have a different view of things.
It is for your apologies so often not that we always take you to our tasting room to discover the cuvées of our latest vintage.
The exchanges are courteous and decorous as long as we mention the areas planted in the beautiful towns that border Chassagne-Montrachet. The comments get more heated as we discuss maturities, soil types, sulphiting and winemaking. A priori, you know more than everyone about these technical points. The exchange becomes different and disturbing when you talk about your preconceived and unfounded ideas about our beautiful wine region.
“You Burgundian winegrowers have problems with being rich”
Yes, Burgundy is a prestigious region, as it is full of terroirs with fantastic and unique characters.
Indeed, Burgundy winegrowers are rich in their know-how, their passion and their love of wine, which contribute to the global influence of French heritage.My colleagues and I pamper our plots to offer wine lovers products rich in emotions
The Problems of the Poor by Roberto Petronio
On the other hand, dear journalists, we have problems, like all winegrowers, related to our profession and not only “problems of the rich” as you put it so well Mr. Petronio. Issues related to the satisfaction of our customers. Issues related to the future of our profession, our lands and our environment. Issues related to transmission, when families break under the weight of administrative and legal constraints. Common sense issues. This common sense too often forgotten.
You may think you are a precursor and a populist in conveying this idea of “problems of the rich”, but when I ask you to name the estates that in your eyes represent Burgundy well, you are able to quote me only star domains such as Roulot, Coche-Dury or Confuron-Cotetidot. However, Burgundy is not limited to these areas which make Burgundy shine in the most beautiful way.
Burgundy is about 3,650 winegrowers, an average area of 6.5 hectares per winegrower and an average selling price of €9.50 per bottle. So no, not all Burgundy winegrowers have “problems of the rich”, Mr. Petronio. Otherwise why in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet would a winegrower cease his activity every year? We were 60 thirty years ago, we are only 30 today.
As journalists, you taste, comment, write to transcribe a story that, we hope, will make people dream. But wouldn't your problem be to start by listening to the winegrowers, trying to understand them, taking an interest in them rather than simply believing, without really knowing? So keep hitting on the people who make you live and you'll soon have no one left to interview.