VIGNES DANS LE ROUGE

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In the past few years, climate change has been intensifying in the south of France: a substantial drought in 2017, an extremely wet spring in 2018 and a historic record-high in 2019 at a staggering 46 degree celsius.  Benoit, Regis, Catherine, as well as countless other winemakers in the Languedoc region, find themselves more and more powerless in the face of a worsening climate crisis.

For most of those winemakers, science, the soil, the flora, the fauna and even livestock, have their role to play in acontinual dance between man and nature. This precious knowledge is the fruit of countless generations wanting to express the flavors of the terroir, the holy grail of every winemaker. But this timeless dance with nature can quickly turn into a battle, and more and more frequently turns into a nightmare. Nature always has the last word and winemakers, now more than ever, know it. These extremes weather events have tested the fortitude of even the most fervent winegrowers and has planted a seed of doubt about their future.  

As we follow these men and women in their daily lives within the context of climate change in south of France, Vigne dans le rouge reveals an agricultural sector out of synch with the economic, social and environmental realities of our time.A short-term decision taken after the Phylloxera crisis 120 years ago led the French winemaking industry to its current predicament, further amplified by climate change.

For Vincent, owner of the largest domain of hybrid grape varieties in Europe, Pierre-Yves, specialist in agroecology, and Benoit passionate winemaker, solutions already exist. 

Will this ancient industry be able to free itself from the shackles of its traditions, its rigid classification system, and vulnerable grape varieties to survive the climate crisis? Could it be an opportunity for lasting change in the French wine industry to remain relevant in the 21st century?