A few days ago, a question came to my mind: why is it so difficult for the best Argentine wine journalists to perceive the cultural nature of this product and its immanent representation of deep bound between environment, means of production and social relationships?. Then, I thought it was urgent to bring back from the oblivion, for those who want to remember, the work that Luigi Veronelli made in Italy, and his latest initiative called Terra e Liberta/Critical Wine, which today represents a movement of small independent producers trying to reformulate the relations of the wine.
In Argentina, the physical distance between production centers and consumption centers has created barriers that were impossible to overcome for the wine culture until recent days. The extensive social environment, formed by the group of winemakers of Mendoza and San Juan were submitted by a small group of industrial wineries that could conquer Buenos Aires with their brands, which imitate the names of the European tradition. Remembering the famous pool of 5 million liters in the basements of Peñaflor it’s enough to represent this situation. Then, the foreign investments and the export boom came. Moreover, when the internet and greater mobility shortened the distance, instead of recovering the essence of the place, we prioritize personalism and ostentation of luxury.
Why no journalist nor sommelier explains to the Argentine consumer where the grapes of the wine is drinking came from? What kind of agriculture has produced it and what effect does it have on the landscape and the people who work with it? What relationship with wine does the owner of the vineyard have? With what additives and industrial practices the wine went through? What type of work and communities are promoted by the income generated by each bottle? How is that income distributed between producers and intermediaries?
The fetish of the merchandise erases all trace of the means of production, and we end up having social and personal relations just with the object.
Luigi Veronelli was a famous Italian gastronomic, philosopher, journalist and writer who dedicated his life to treasure the Italian food and wine heritage. His work was oriented to the preservation of diversity in food production: he was aware of the threat that industrialization represented for the Italian agricultural tradition and for the freedom of taste.
In his last years Veronelli encouraged the movement Terra e Liberta / Critical Wine. This movement invites us to co-create "new forms of production and consumption, subvert marketing chains, reduce the food gap, exhibit the modalities of deprivation of taste that are developed in a global way expropriating small independent producers. (...) It is a way of imagine a virtuous circle between quality of the environment, the product and of the social relations" that reconstitutes our sovereignty as consumers.
I would like to remember and invite you to reflect on the 12 points that constitute the basis of the movement:
1) Reactivate the relationship between taste and knowledge.
2) Reappropriate the sensoriality and independence of reasoning.
3) Establish new social relationships.
4) Deindustrialize agriculture.
5) Combat industrial gigantism.
6) Combat GMOs, crimes against humanity and against the earth.
7) Reduce the food distance: shorten the commercial chain.
8) Revitalize the peasant: re-ruralize the planet.
9) Sustain individual responsibility and self-certification.
10) Produce simple ideas to transform the production.
11) Maximum traceability of products.
12) Show the price of the producer.
In Chakana we struggle to represent each of these points in the best way that the local environment allows us.