Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade

By Tim Unwin | Go to book overview

9

CRISES AND EXPANSION: THE RESTRUCTURING OF VITICULTURE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

La vigne seule en France et dans les régions où elle peut mûrir ses fruits, a le pouvoir de créer la richesse dans les terrains pauvres et délaissés; seule elle y rendre 10 pour 100 au capital avancé, seule elle y fondera à perpétuité de grands et de riches domaines. [In France and in the regions where it is able to mature its fruits, only the vine has the ability to create wealth in poor and neglected soils; alone it can yield 10 per cent on the capital advanced, and alone it will be capable of maintaining great and rich estates.]

(Guyot, 1860:203)

…le capitaliste, ce puissant agent du progrés, ne dissipera point ses forces en cultivant sur des espaces sans fin de misérables produits a basse ou même à moyenne main d'oeuvre. II saura bientôt qu'un hectare de Château-Laffitte ou de Clos-Vougeot produit plus de richesses pour tous que cent hectares de landes, de friches ou de savarts laissés en pâturage, planté en bois ou mis en culture de ferme. [The capitalist, this powerful agent of progress, will not waste his energy in cultivating worthless products over endless expanses employing partially qualified, or unqualified, labour. He will soon find out that one hectare of Chateau-Laffitte or of Clos-Vougeot, produces more wealth for everyone than a hundred hectares of heath, of fallow or of waste left to pasture, put down to wood or turned into an ordinary farm.]

(Guyot, 1860:5)

Two central processes characterised the fortunes of viticulture and the wine trade during the nineteenth century. These were the spread of various fungal and insect parasites to Europe from North America, and the introduction and expansion of viticulture into new areas of the globe, most notably Australia and California. Both of these processes reflected increasing economic and social connections between different parts of the world, influenced not only by the growing demands of capital, alluded to

-270-

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