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Jon Bonné on France’s Changing Wine Culture

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0540
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French wine, a beacon of its culture, is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. The legendary appellations are being reconceived, places like Champagne and Beaujolais are in the midst of positive revolution, while others like St. Emilion and Vouvray face upheaval and sometimes outright revolt. Many naturalist winemakers have rejected the rules entirely and make their wine outside the system, their wines appreciated by a generation keen to reject the ways of the old. After decades of reliance on chemically intensive farming, the country’s best winemakers now adhere to organic and biodynamic farming—but are often stymied by neighbors and a government still stuck in the old ways.

In his new book, The New French Wine: Redefining the World's Greatest Wine Culture, Jon Bonné, one of the leading American voices on wine and food, captures the world’s greatest wine culture at a moment of profound change. The book provides a narrative overview of each region—the soil and geography and the distinctive traditions—as well as addresses the changing wine industry in France.

Bonné posits that over the past 20 years, French wine has been simultaneously destroying and recreating itself, driven by a talented generation of pioneering winemakers. This new generation sees all the value of French terroir—its traditions, famed vineyards, and renown. But it is also struggling to succeed amid a bureaucracy that undermines progress and makes life more difficult for the small independent vignerons who make up the backbone of French wine.

Join Bonné, a two-time James Beard Award winner, in conversation with Dave McIntyre, the Washington Post’s wine columnist, as they discusses the wine regions of France, the stories behind some of the most revered producers, and what’s next for the country he calls “the soul of the global wine industry.”

Bonné is the managing editor of Resy; the former wine editor and chief wine critic of the San Francisco Chronicle; and served as the lifestyle editor and wine columnist for MSNBC, the U.S. columnist for Decanter magazine, and the wine consultant for JetBlue Airways.

Copies of The New French Wine (Ten Speed Press) are available for purchase.

Please note: This program is not part of the Wine Adventures: A Top Sommelier’s Guide series and wine-tasting kits are not available.

Book Sale Information

  • Purchase your copy of The New French Wine by Jon Bonné here.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 (no space between letters and numbers) in the “Coupon discount” or “Comments” section on Politics and Prose's check-out page.

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