Communists rush to defend French wine

There is a hint of Cold War in the air as France prepares for this year’s presidential elections.

It’s back to the future for our news roundup this week, as our interest is piqued by some outbursts from the past – including a Communist Party leader making the news, which is a throwback to rear as scenic as we’ve seen for some time.

Elsewhere it’s a very familiar set of stories, with plant diseases, pests, stolen goods and Covid all making their presence felt.

The communist uses wine to seduce the masses

The news last week that French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron had been named personality of the year by the country’s biggest wine magazine, La Revue du Vin de France, seems to have sparked a touch of pre-match political combat ( 2022 sees the French go to the polls to elect a new president).

So enters the fray (unexpectedly, it must be said) the leader of the French Communist Party (PCF), Fabien Roussel, who, in a recent interview on the France 3 television channel, lined up to defend Bordeaux from the country.

“It’s good to defend wine,” he said. “I also like to drink a glass of wine.” At that time, the interviewer pointed out that Macron drinks two glasses a day.

Nevertheless, for Roussel, ensuring the accessibility of good wine and good products to the people is the key to defending the country’s gastronomic reputation.

“A good wine, a good piece of meat, a good cheese…this is French gastronomy and the best way to defend it is to make it accessible,” he said. “For real [produce] and beautiful – I’m thinking of art, which we talked about earlier in the program – everyone should have access to these things.”

When pressed about the dangers of alcoholism and calls to put large health warnings on wine bottles, like cigarettes in many countries, Roussel played the card of quality rather than quality. quantity.

“…but good wine – like good meat – it is better to drink a little, but of good quality; eat less, but eat well; drink French – French meat – but above all everyone must have access to it because it’s expensive… it’s a question of wages and pensions and that’s how you defend French gastronomy.”

Cue a bunch of other left-wing groups, including Sandrine Rousseau of the French Green Party who, according to French political publication Challenges, said it was time to bring Roussel “to the couscous”. Other less charitable comments included calling Roussel an “identity political redneck” and a “drunken, retarded hunter promoting alcoholism”.

The PCF took it relatively well: “In the past, the Communists were accused of eating little children… now they are accused of eating meat, that’s progress! According to Roussel, he even received support from the right.

However, according to Challenges, Roussel and the Greens had missed an opportunity to talk about what constitutes “good” food and good wine.

“Healthy eating is one of the issues that most concern the French,” he said. “[The] The social divide is also present here. The working classes are the first victims of obesity and vascular diseases caused by junk food. For their part, environmentalists could have done better and made themselves heard – for once – on good wine without pesticides; good meat that is not factory-farmed; good milk cheese that has not been tampered with.”

Others were more ambivalent. “The table is for bringing together, sharing, exchanging, not dividing,” said Deborah Rudetzki, editorial director of Opnion International, which lambasted “political vegans” and those who want to “ban certain products,” saying that they should be more “aware of the real problems” posed to society.

Others thought the opposite. “I really want to put this issue on the table,” French Green MEP David Cormand told Challenges, “because there is nothing more political than what we eat.”


Bois noir disease hits Burgundy

A grapevine disease known as ‘Black Wood’ – a leafroll phytoplasma related to and showing similar symptoms to golden flavesence – has been discovered in the Burgundy wine region, it emerged this week. Of nearly 3,300 leaf tests performed on plant material suspected of infection across the region at the end of 2021, 98 percent (3,198) tested positive for bois noir (Candidatus phytoplasma solani).

“It’s huge and unexpected,” Héloïse Mahé, from the BIVB’s technical branch, told regional newspaper France3. “This raises a number of questions because, until now, the disease was not considered an epidemic.”

According to the news channel, Alsace and Champagne are also “severely affected”. The disease is transmitted by the leafhopper Hyalesthes obsoletus.

Although the presence of golden flavesence (Candidatus Phytoplasma vitis) is well known in the region, it appears that Bois Noir is currently the predominant strain in Burgundy of so-called vine yellows. However, the distinction is reasonably debatable given that the symptoms (golden, rolling leaves and withered fruit) and treatment (uprooting of the affected vine) are broadly the same.

Of the 3281 tests carried out on plant material from all over Burgundy, only 132 were found to be positive for flavesence dorée. However, the latter has been in Burgundy for several years.

Ladybugs having fun in Marlborough

More on the vine pests this week as reports from New Zealand claim the displaced ladybugs have made landfall and are now well established in the Marlborough wine region. Harlequin ladybugs, which can congregate in vines during harvest (potentially tainting the resulting wine), are believed to have crossed Cook Strait from the country’s North Island during Cyclone Gita, a severe storm that swept across the country in 2018.

Ladybugs were first discovered in the North Island in 2016 and have gradually moved south. Despite their habit of congregating in vineyards during harvest time and contaminating wine – a well-known, albeit rare, problem – there have been no major reports of ladybug smell in New Zealand wines.

Marlborough, however, is the engine room of the country, producing the majority of the country’s wine exports – mainly Sauvignon Blanc.

“At this time, we need all producers to be on alert. For wine and honey producers, this is a serious threat,” Dr Dave Bellamy, head of agronomy research, told the Stuff news group. Ladybugs will also overwinter in hives with

“We are concerned this is becoming a big deal,” said Sophie Badlands, managing director of biosecurity for New Zealand Winegrowers. Indeed.

More wine fairs postponed due to Covid

The popular Salon des Vins de la Loire, which was due to be held at the end of January, has been pushed back two months to March 15-17, 2022, due to the latest wave of Covid. The postponement adds to a seemingly ever-growing number of rescheduled events.

Recent last-minute postponements include the Millésime Bio organic wine show in the south of France (now taking place from February 28 to March 2, 2022, although online events are taking place in January, as planned), The Percée du Vin Jaune in the Jura (postponed from April 1 to 3) and the Ampuis Wine Market (initially scheduled for next weekend but now from April 29 to May 2).

French wine news site published a list of delayed wine fairs earlier this week. No news, however, as to whether the BarcelonaNatural Wine show – Saló del Vins Naturals de Barcelona – will take place on February 6 and 7, as planned. Barcelona Wine Week, which was due to start on February 7, has been postponed to April 4-6, also due to Covid concerns.

Police seize huge amount of stolen wine in Valparaíso, Chile

Chilean police have seized more than 5,000 stolen bottles of wine following a raid on the home of a suspected assaulter on Tuesday in the coastal city of Cartagena, about 110 km (68 miles) east west of the capital Santiago. The wines, all belonging to the famous Chilean producer Vina Tarapacá, had been stolen the day before, Monday.

The wines – all 638 cases appeared intact and unopened in police photographs – were quickly returned to Vina Tarapacá.

However, reports from national radio, BioBioChile, gave more questions than answers. First of all, how did the thief manage to steal such a large amount of wine? Plus, how did the police go from pursuing an assault charge to the chance discovery of the freshly stolen loot? A lucky coincidence?

And given that the burglary happened in Santiago’s “metropolitan area” (Vina Tarapacá’s headquarters are just south of Santiago) on Monday before being picked up the next day on the coast of Cartagena, you would have been forgiven to ask for a timeline. But that’s not all.

“The prosecutor continues to work to establish whether this robbery is related to others,” the report concludes. What others?

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