SAC #33: Survival Strategies: Bio-Dynamics, Terroir and Productionist Viticulture



Thursday, 12 April 2007, 4- 5:30pm


Seminar Room, Centre for Innovation, 87 St. David St.


Scott Willis, CSAFE, Department of Anthropology


The EU wine lake, growing market share of New World wines, increasing consumer awareness of agri-environmental pollution and a more restrictive production landscape in the EU all combine to present challenges to ?conventional? production practices in Burgundy, France. Big global issues such as Peak Oil and Global Warming are also beginning to be factored into production considerations on some domains. Working from ethnographic fieldwork material, this paper looks at the challenges Burgundian viticulteurs (grape-grower/wine-makers) face and the various strategies (psychological and material) employed to address these challenges. In particular, terroir, as local bounded production space, has been reinvigorated as a concept by the debates surrounding viticultural practices. And one hitherto marginal group of producers is well placed to reap the benefits of this changing constellation. Referencing the deeply rooted traditions of viticultural production in Burgundy, Bio-Dynamic producers seem to have found a successful niche that has strong resonance with consumers. Is it then likely that Bio-Dynamic wine production can emerge from the margins?

About the Speaker

Scott Willis is a PhD candidate (working with Hugh
Campbell) who is examining issues related to the geographical designation of wine appellations France. As part of this research, he has not only talked to a variety of Burgundian wine growers, but has also worked in the vineyards and acted as an intern at the European Union. He also is very interested in the sustainability of New Zealand agriculture and urban settlement more locally.


Chris Rosin