Developers vs grape-growersby Tim King / May 20, 2004 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2004 issue of Prospect Magazine
Pierre spent the summers of his childhood gazing over the gentle hills, covered with his family’s vines. His father was one of the few grape-growers in the village to have a winemaking cave (cellar). Pierre dreamed of the day when he would look after the vines himself. But his father, a banker, had other ideas. Pierre fought hard, but his father fought harder. Biding his time, Pierre took a job in a bank. Finally, stubborn to the end, his father died and, four years ago, Pierre became the vigneron he’d always wanted to be.
Pierre is a good friend; his wife Marie-Pierre was my wife’s best friend at school. We almost bought a house in the same peaceful village but the planned A75 motorway only a kilometre away put me off. “It’s a godsend,” said Marie-Pierre. “The only exit between two big towns is on our doorstep: the first cave those thirsty tourists see will be ours.” Motorways for me spell trouble, but Pierre and Marie-Pierre replanted and invested their savings in better equipment. The only hiccup, until now, has been that French wine is getting harder to sell. The bombshell came from elsewhere.