I attended the Université de la Vigne et du Vin in Ferrals-les-Corbieres, a small village in the heart of Languedoc wine country. This post is a summary of my day. A full pdf of the event program can be downloaded.
It was pretty cool. The Uni is a real home-grown event where some very motivated people in the region (namely Nadine Franjus-Adenis) have organized a conference that addresses issues facing contemporary viticulture.
Nadine Franjus-Adenis hosts the Universite de la Vigne et du Vin
Being local, the conference has a lot of personality and is a bit quirky (which you know I am a fan of). The organizers interrupt speakers every time they use anglicisms. There’s a lot of occitan thrown around between presentations. The whole event is clearly taking place in the Languedoc.
And it also feels a lot less pretentious than other more International events. And the speakers are easily as good here as the ones I see at larger conferences (Wine Futures comes to mind). You don’t need to be a big wine celebrity to be thought-provoking. Which is funny because the theme was actually about being a big wine celebrity.
2011’s theme – Riche et Celebre
The theme was “Riche et Celebre?”, a playful choice because virtually all of us in the wine business know how impractical it is to think that all winemakers could become rich and famous.
Louise Hurren’s summary on facebook is very accurate:
Essentially, it was about the importance, for wines and wineries, of being known, of having an identity. In French, the process of being first “connu” and then “reconnu”… there was a lot of talk about the need to work together as a group and have a collective identity. Lot of debate about whether to promote under the banner of terroir, of cepage, of appellation, of brand (eg. Sud de France)… and so on.
People presented on a variety of subjects linked to the theme of notoriety. There were a number of things I disagreed with, but that’s healthy for a real exchange of ideas. I hate those conferences where everybody agrees.
Actual speaker synopsis
I started writing these up and some of them got very long so I’ll give them their own posts. Follow the link to read my thoughts on any particular speaker.
Jacky Rigaux, Université de Bourgogne –
Terroir is the best way to promote French wines
Christophe Juarez, France, ton vin est dans le rouge –
Adapting to the modern wine world
Jacques Berthomeau, Ministry of Agriculture & Blogger –
Share your stories and use the Internet
Francois Druel, web consultant –
The Internet is cool
Christine Ontivero, PR –
What Press Agents do
Michel Smith, Jouranlist/Blogger and Winemaker –
How to communicate with journalists
Panel Discussion: Individual versus Collective Identity
- moderated by Hervé Hannin, director of Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Vigne et du Vin
- Jacques Berthomeau, as above
- Elodie Le Drean, filiere vin Sud de France Developpement
- Jerome Villaret, delegue general CIVL
- Xavier de Volontat, vigneron independant & President AOC Corbieres
- Frantz Venes, Chateau Massamier la Mignarde
Volem Dire al Pais – short film interview series with Michel Cano conducting interviews and film/editing by Alexandre Pachoutinsky
Wine tasting with Frederic Senechal from L’Auberge du Vieux Puits (Gilles Goujon three michelin starred restaurant)
coverage of l’Universite de la Vigne et du Vin
Other articles about the event:
Photos of Universite de la Vigne et du Vin