Today’s hits really close to home. This is a chanson paillarde or sort of naughty drinking song. Very often, at the end of big lunches and dinners, once everybody has had a lot of trah lah lah, the men start to sing. Here’s a banda performing one of the local favorites:
And here’s a more hifi recording with some lyrics:
Quand la boîteuse s’en va au marché (bis)
Elle n’y va jamais sans son panier (bis)
Et elle s’en va le long de la rivière
Tortillant du cul, des fesses et du derrière
Ah! Jamais on n’a vu,non jamais vu
Un aussi beau cul que celui de la boîteuse
Ah! L’on ne verra plus, ne verra plus
Une boîteuse avec un si beau cul
Sur l’air du tralalala (bis)
Sur l’air du tralalala lala
Quand la boîteuse s’en va au rugby (bis)
Elle n’y va jamais sans son demi
Et elle s’en va, le long de la rivière
Tortillant du cul, des fesses et du derrière
Quand la boîteuse vient à Lézignan (bis)
Elle montre son oignon à tous les habitants (bis)
Et elle s’en va le long de la rivière
Tortillant du cul, des fesses et du derrière
Quand la boîteuse va faire la feria (bis)
On voit son tapanari dans les bodegas (bis)
Et elle s’en va tout le long des terrasses
En montrant son cul, ses fesses et ses jambasses
Quand la boîteuse vient à Pézénas (bis)
C’est pour se confesser au curé de Conas (bis)
Et elle s’en va,le long de la 113
Tortillant du cul, des fesses de la prothèse
Sometimes the line about the beau cul is reversed: “Jamais on a vu un si beau cul que celui de la boiteuse”
References to Pezenas and the N113 reveal that this song is very much made for Midi and Aude in particular.
I just had a spectacular hike to the Chateaux de Lastours last night where we had a picnic and watched the sunset. One of my buddies at ESC Dijon’s wine commerce program stayed at the B&B this week with his girlfriend. And Gabriella Opaz came up from Barcelona too. Everybody asked me how they could spend their last night in town so I suggested a picnic in the Chateaux de Lastours.
Lastours is a tiny village north of Carcassonne and it used to be the headquarters for the Lords of Cabaret, the guys who give their name to the Cabardes. Lastours was the center of their feifdom and all the surrounding lands were farmed in the name of these lords. They built these fortifications on the high ground above Lastours and the ruins still stand today. And they’re open to the public. So if you want to see a castle that isn’t crawling with tourists, check out Lastours after hours. We walked up and were the only people there. We sat down and had a lovely picnic with some sandwiches and O’Vineyards wine. If you do this, don’t litter! You have to be very tidy or else you’ll ruin this historic site.
Lastours is about 25 minutes north of Carcassonne so you’ll need a car, but it’s totally worth it if you like nature, breathtaking views, and castle ruins. There are lots of stairs too and it’s sadly not accessible to wheelchairs.
Additionally, we went at sunset but you have to be very careful and bring flashlights if you do this. The path down is rather treacherous in the dark and there aren’t always handrails so be safe.
Basically, 29 or so wineries have signed up to host picnics in their vines. This is a great opportunity for people to visit vineyards throughout Aude. O’Vineyards isn’t participating in this event, but I will certainly attend another winery’s picnic. And I might be organizing a similar idea for our new vineyard owners from Naked Wines.
Map of villages with picnic locations
Because the list of winemakers is a little intimidating and contains lots of tiny villages you’ve never heard of, I made a map of all the villages that hava a participating winemaker. Look at the map to find the picnics nearest to you. And then consult the full list below to find out which winery is hosting the picnic.
Basically, La Conf is unhappy with the way the CIVL spends its money. They characterize the expenditures as opaque, wasteful and overly representative of large-scale wine producers. They refuse to pay any more and demand that past dues be reimbursed.
The immediate question is why they don’t just abandon the CIVL. But it’s not that simple. While they can opt out of the the CIVL cotisations by making table wine or vin de pays (or even IGP wine I think), AOCs are a different story. For example, as a producer of AOC Cabardes, I have to pay a few Euro per hectoliter to the Cabardes ODG (the office that runs our AOC).
And the Cabardes pays over 1 Euro per hectoliter of that to the CIVL who represents the interests of all the appellations (more on this below). In other words, if an individual in the Cabardes region wants to make AOC wine, that individual will be contributing money to the CIVL.
It’s true that I could just stop calling my wine AOC if I vehemently disagreed with the CIVL. But I am sensitive to the fact that some winemakers have older properties and have been producing an appellation wine for generations. It’s almost their cultural right to keep making the same wine under the same name. Whereas organizational bodies like the CIVL are relatively young (the CIVL was created by a regional decree in 1994; other bodies like Sud de France Export are even younger).
La Conf is angry because they feel that they cannot make Appellation wine without paying the CIVL and that this money is used to promote high-volume wineries more often than it uses the money to promote small, indie winemakers. And they can’t stop funding this group without taking Cabardes off their label or drastically rewriting their AOC charters and having them re-approved by the INAO.
My thoughts on La Conf’s objections
For the sake of my readers, I’ve summarized my views in a list. For those without the time or English skills:
It’s not a HUGE deal.
The CIVL does a pretty good job representing small producers
This issue should be debated in-house at the AOC, not publicly with the CIVL
You can read the details below.
Is this a big deal? Not really.
The first thing I should point out is that this seems like an issue being blown out of proportion. La Confédération paysanne de l’Aude or La Conf is a group of small scale producers who feel ignored. By definition, this is a small scale problem. I get pretty plaintive sometimes too and I rattle on about how I’m a due-paying member. But the dues are paid per hectoliter. So a small producer like me is paying something in the order of 80 Euros to the CIVL each year. Not a huge deal. Unless you’re a larger scale producer. But then… you wouldn’t feel unrepresented.
Does the CIVL ignore low-volume wineries? Not really.
This is a legitimate question, but I’m actually going to side with the CIVL. While it’s true that a lot of their promotional efforts have a more visible direct impact on large-volume wineries, it’s not the CIVL’s modus operandi. They’re not Captain Planet villains intentionally trying to steal money from small winemakers.
Sometimes, it definitely feels like they care more about the big boys, but that makes sense. The CIVL isn’t allowed to play favorites. They’re supposed to promote the entire region at once. Or an entire appellation at once. If you come up with a great idea for just your vineyard, they’re not supposed to help you with that (that’s my understanding). But they can do an event that promotes a whole region like putting Languedoc wine billboards in the Paris subway (totally made up example).
The most visible projects are often the ones that target the general public (like my subway billboard example). Creating regional awareness with the general public increases shelf value at supermarkets. But that billboard probably won’t inspire as many devoted wine lovers to buy a 20+ Euro bottle of wine from the region. So, to this extent, some of the CIVL’s most visible efforts help big boys more than small wineries.
But other times, I feel that the CIVL is trying to showcase the fact that our AOCs have small elite producers. It’s just hard for them to do that because they’re not allowed to play favorites.
I do feel them actively trying to find better ways to spend their money. For example, this year, they’ve changed the way they alot money to appellations. In the past, the amount of subsidies and help you could get from the CIVL was proportional to how much AOC wine you produced (and thus proportional to how much you paid them). Now, they’ve removed this restriction and simply award subsidies and loans to the best projects presented to them. This is hugely beneficial to small appellations like the Cabardes and it’s actually a major set back for larger appellations like the Corbieres. Now, money goes to the most deserving project instead of falling to the biggest wine producing area.
And we have been successfully working with the CIVL to fund just such a project. I don’t want to divulge too many details until it’s all official, but it should be really fun. We presented a solid, uncanny idea to promote a small AOC and they were all about it.
And even though I named the Corbieres above as an example of a big appellation, you shouldn’t worry about them. Because they presented a creative project too. The Corbieres is pushing for an extensive web presence, with a facebook page, twitter account, and all that jazz. They crowd sourced a new logo for the Corbieres and all kinds of cool stuff and the CIVL is helping to fund that initiative.
And full disclosure, the CIVL is sponsoring VinoCamp this weekend under the title “Les AOCs du Languedoc” and “Corbieres” in particular. This is a drop in the bucket (a few hundred euros) but it shows that they’re open to spending money on reaching specialized small audiences of wine lovers. This sort of event will not increase supermarket value for the big producers. This is the sort of sponsorship that will help inspire the purchase of premium bottles from small producers because it’s a small targeted audience.
Should we blame the CIVL? Not really.
Even if you disagree with the CIVL’s spending policies, should you really be blaming them publicly? Who forces us to pay part of our AOC money to the CIVL? Technically the winemakers of each appellation force themselves. We get to make our own charters and enforce our own rules. Each AOC gets to self-regulate to a great extent. The INAO is a national body that approves and oversees the enforcement of those rules, but the laws themselves are generated by the winemakers who are also the subject of those laws. So if we (the members of Cabardes ODG) really wanted to, we could agree to stop paying the CIVL. There would probably be a big backlash from the CIVL, other appellations, regional government and even the INAO. But I’m pretty sure it’s feasible. I think Fitou did this? Feel free to correct me if you know better!
While I understand La Conf’s complaints and I get similarly whiney about some CIVL initiatives (see Grands Crus du Languedoc), I think the proper channel for that debate is within the ODG. If an AOC-producing winemaker really feels that their AOC’s money should not be shared with the CIVL, they should take that up with the AOC (where they are a voting member) and not the CIVL which really can’t be expected to give back the money they have already spent.
I’ve got an analogy. As always, my analogies are overstretched and potentially offensive to everybody involved. So here it goes! Imagine you live in a democratic country and pay taxes there. And you realize one day that your country spends lots of money on healthcare. You’re a scientologist or something so you hate some of the medical practices that the government is paying for with your money. The way I understand it, you should go to the government and demand change. What you should not do is go to the hospitals and start yelling at the nurses and demanding lots of money from them.
If you’re concerned about changing things, you go to your self-regulating ODG and fight for change.
By fighting this battle with the CIVL instead of within the ODG, you drag everybody’s name through the mud. The winemakers look petty. The organization looks corrupt. The region looks doomed. I feel like this isn’t the best way to handle grievances with the way promotional money gets spent in the region. And Lord knows I have grievances.
This is a slightly ironic view to hold… since I’m blabbing about it on the Internet instead of in a private email to Robert Curbières and his colleagues. But this is just a blog and La Conf seems to be intent on taking the CIVL to court. Also, I try to acknowledge that both parties are putting forth some effort. Their intentions are good in both cases. And both efforts are fundamentally flawed in some ways. But at least there’s effort.
A detailed schedule will come soon. But the important thing is to book your tickets and hotels for this lovely weekend in March. A hundred wine professionals and Internet people will come together at the Chambre de Commerce et de l’Industrie in Carcassonne. There will be a series of round table discussions on Saturday on subjects that will be decided the day of the VinoCamp. Sunday will consist of a visit to the Cité de Carcassonne and at least one vineyard.
Registration and Wiki
VinoCamp registration is free but mandatory as there are a few questions that will help me organize buses, food, etc.
I strongly encourage you to edit the VinoCamp wiki. This will allow you to add your name, email address, and website to the common list that we will all use for reference when writing about the event. Participants in the conference will be able to familiarize themselves with your website before they come to the conference.
What is a VinoCamp? What is a BarCamp?
I’ve written about the nature of barcamps before, but to summarize: VinoCamp is an open conference devoted to wine and the Internet. There is no literal camping involved. Here is a post with some video of a small round table discussion about Oenotourism from VinoCamp Paris
Who comes to a VinoCamp?
Winemakers, wine retailers, wine journalists, and anybody who makes a living online with wine. VinoCamp is a place where wine professionals and techies come together to share ideas about the future of wine online. You’ll get to meet a few Z list local celebrities like me. ;D
Here is my list of the people I met at VinoCamp Paris. The open nature of the VinoCamp allows you to really meet a lot of new people. And since everybody has a chance to talk, you can tell very quickly whether a person is awesome or not.
I attended the general assembly of indie winemakers for the departement de l’Aude. It was okay. They’re in good financial shape and they get a lot done for indie winemakers. And these speeches seem to indicate that everybody wants more wine projects like Love That Languedoc. So that’s good! I’ve started talking to their commercial office about urging winemakers to participate. We’ll see how that goes.
Here’s a video of Anne-Marie Charvet, Prefect of Aude, starting the assembly:
And a video of the National Director of the Vignerons Indépendants:
Roland Courteau, Senator of Aude, speaks about the anti-wine lobby in Paris:
Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387
Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing
North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910
Best by GPS.
Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.