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Wine, Networks and Scales

Intermediation in the production, distribution and consumption of wine

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Edited By Stéphanie Lachaud-Martin, Corinne Marache, Julie McIntyre and Mikaël Pierre

Wine as a product arises from human connections in know-how and trade as much as from the natural environment in which grapes are grown. At each stage of decision-making about growing grapes, making wine, selling and drinking it, people with different roles are networked together into systems of production and distribution. The authors in this collection offer new studies of the individuals and groups who act as connectors in these networked systems, intermediating in the delivery of wine from growers’ vines to consumers’ glasses. These actors operate at multi-layered scales of geography or within multiple regimes of governance, all the while taking account of arbitrations of quality and taste. This collection highlights how intermediators in many different wine countries and periods of history are, and have been, significant agents of continuity and change in the wine industry.

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Phylloxera Crisis and French-Australian Wine Rivalry on the British Market (1882-1914)

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MIKAËL PIERRE

As Australian wine exports to Britain surpassed French exports in the 2000s, one should question the origins of this shift in the world wine trade. Market disruptions in the last quarter of the 19th century were the first signs of a globalised wine industry with the emergence of new producing countries in the Americas, Africa and Oceania. This phenomenon was observable with the appearance of Australia in French wine literature as a potential threat in international markets and especially in Britain, the most prominent world import centre of fine wines1. From the 1880s, the phylloxera crisis, the reappearance of protectionist policies in Europe and America and the development of wine growing in California, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Australia, represented the end of the hegemonic dream of the French wine industry in the world market. Yet, Jules Guyot, who was hired by the imperial government to carry out a general study of the vineyards of the empire in the 1860s, considered that France had no serious competition regarding fine wines and that it would remain the major supplier of the world for centuries to come2. Though inaccurate, one must acknowledge that Guyot’s prediction occurred before the phylloxera devastations during what is called the “golden age” of wine in France, owing to the growth of urban populations, increasing alcohol consumption and the development of the railroad networks ←59 | 60→connecting southern vineyards to Paris and the main French cities3. At the same time, the first era...

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