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Wine, Networks and Scales

Intermediation in the production, distribution and consumption of wine


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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A New Wine for the International Market: Italian Public Institutions’ Initiatives to Support the Oenological Sector (1870-1910)



From the 1870s to the First World War, central, provincial and municipal Italian public administrations promoted the modernisation of Italian viticulture and winemaking, as well as the internationalisation of Italian wines. They played a fundamental role in: (a) the transmission and transfer of knowledge and information about the production system (vine growing and winemaking); (b) the control of the final product (to improve its quality and avoid alterations); (c) the distribution of Italian wines on the international market, giving wine producers all the information about customers’ tastes and the potential demand concerning Italian wines. During the period analysed, the initiatives of the State, the Provinces and the Municipalities in favour of the creation and the distribution of a new national wine adapted to the international market were numerous: they helped the creation of a national oenology which was able to face an increasingly globalised wine market.

These public institutions in particular financed the creation of: agrarian councils (‘comizi agrari’) which supported studies aimed at the development of agriculture (obviously including viticulture); agricultural schools training new qualified farmers as well as new winemakers; experimental agrarian stations (‘stazioni agrarie sperimentali’) conducting scientific experiments in the primary sector; itinerant agricultural chairs (‘cattedre ambulanti di agricoltura’) whose agronomists explained, in the villages, the new efficient production systems, including new methods of viticulture and winemaking. This policy was accompanied by the dissemination of agricultural almanacs and agricultural journals: the aim ←115 | 116...

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