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Wine Microbiopolitics

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Two things!

Check out this interview/profile I did with the Mike Marler & Véronique Hupin of Vignoble Les Pervenches, imho the best winery in Québec, that of course is getting increasingly hard to acquire bottles of because assholes like me keep talking them up so hard.

The interview provides the starting point for a longer piece I wrote for Beside Magazine about winemaking and “microbial ethics” (in the print edition only – copies available at D&Q or via the mag’s website), a topic I have been thinking on for a long tim but had not previously written about in any depth (for a more extensive examination, check out Krzywoszynska’s doctoral dissertation, “We Produce Under This Sky”). The article was written before COVID blew up, and it may currently seem like how we “get along with microbes” in winemaking is a pretty trivial issue, but I do see this as part of a larger project of taking seriously the role of microbes as political and ethical actors in our shared world. Certainly our main goal right now is to “defend” ourselves from coronavirus, but how we navigate this challenge has manifest political and social implications: How has this virus laid bare the dereliction of our health system and care infrastructure for the aged and most vulnerable? Or the fragility of global manufacturing and just-in-time supply chains, and the economic exploitation inherent in jobs that pay less than what the gov’t, through CERB, admits is a bare minimum wage to survive and live with dignity? How do pandemic rules reshape our affective landscapes and the practices of intimacy and sociality?

The article of course doesn’t get into any of this, but in does engage with the positive inverse of taking microbes seriously as subjects of ethical and aesthetic concern, in other words, the up sides of “learning how to live with microbes”. Also: drinking.

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