Ahl, Sofie Isager;
Publisher: Institut for Antropologi, Københavns Universitet
This thesis explores French natural winemakers’ relation to their vines and wines. It is based on anthropological fieldwork carried out in the spring of 2013 among natural winemakers primarily in the regions Loire and Jura. Natural wine is for the present purpose defined as wine from handpicked, organically grown grapes, produced without the use of sugars, sulphur, foreign yeasts or oenological adjustments such as fining, filtering or reverse-osmosis in the vinification process. The thesis takes several practices related to this specific way of producing wine as focal point for exploring the connections (and disconnections), that the winemakers experience in relation to the vines and wines. The study is inspired by theories that can be linked to “multispecies ethnography” (Kirksey & Helmreich 2010) – notably the work of Eduardo Kohn (2013), Philippe Descola (2005) and Tim Ingold (2000, 2012). Borrowing notions from this field the production of natural wine is seen as a way to cultivate multispecies thinking. It is proposed that a very interesting aspect of the work of natural winemakers, is that the social change they work for has its primary expression in their craftsmanship. The change they seek is ingrained in the very movements they make in the vineyard and the winery. They work in other words to change the world not by way of words, but rather by way of their actions. It is these actions that this thesis seeks to find an appropriate language for. Their relations are captured as a striving towards connection with the lives of these radically other life-forms. To the particular natural winemakers that the study is engaged with, what it means to be human in this age marked by extinction (Haraway 2013) involves questioning how we can move beyond ourselves in order to truly experience and feel, on our own bodies, the lives of these other life-forms that inhabit this Earth.