The wine of tomorrow: a pan European wine
“It all started with a shared inner thought: what will be the wine of tomorrow?” tells us Jerome Felici, founder of ŒNOPE together with his partners and friends Françoise and Bruce Roger.
They describe themselves as “Three Fellow Travellers, Three European dreamers, Erasmus first generation European enthusiastic, sharing their passion for wine.” Respectively born in Rome, Avignon and Jurançon they lived and worked in different countries and encountered the wine culture at very young age.
We interviewed them to have an in depth understanding of what led them to apply to our Culture of Solidarity grant with their project “The Borderless European Wine”.
With Europe facing the COVID-19 crisis and other issues such as climate change and globalisation, it is natural for them to think about how would the European future look like.
Working for years in the Food sectors they noticed that all the wine growers around Europe were facing the same problems such as the difficulty to sell their wine due to the pandemic measures, the impact on organoleptic quality of vines because of climate change and the high government taxation.
They decided to start the project with the idea of supporting the wine producers buying their grape juices and at the same time unite Europe by telling the stories of vignerons from different European countries.
The project entails selecting and buying overstocks on wine from the most representative wine growers and vineyards all around Europe and craft 10.000 bottles of a unique “borderless” blended wine expressing the best of each part of them.
The design on the bottle labels will reflect this European message. The plan is to make the wine growers meet and exchange their experience. This sector is based on ancient traditions and wine growers are usually really conservative and jealous of their methods but because of the particular situation we live in, they could recognise that it is easier to face the difficulties if they collaborate.
Additionally, thanks to Benoit Felici’s (their partner European film maker) expertise in digital production and storytelling, they will shoot videos of the vineyards and the wine production and create a documentary to promote the selected wine growers’ know-how and background. Each bottle will have its own story to tell, the stories of the different grapes blended to produce the wine and the stories of the wine producers and their traditions and cultures from various European countries.
The profit made from sales will be fully reinvested to further support to European Vignerons and to be able to continue the project creating new blends.
As marketing concept, the blending is not always understood by consumers. It is an agricultural technical term wrongly used as a marketing term. An oenologist is going to help the team to select the wines following extremely strict criteria in term of quality, ethnicity, history, combination.
“What we blend is our stories and when you drink the wine you will understand our story and when you watch the documentary you will understand the wine.”, they explain us.
Four words can describe the concept that they have in mind in creating their wine: Union, Discovery and Pleasure, solidarity.
Union refers to the blending of wines from vineyards all over Europe. Europe is the Original Land of Viticulture and Wine and the tradition of crafting wine is part of the European identity. Discovery refers to making consumers discover through wine, the beauty of Europe, to embrace the “Made in Europe” label. Pleasure refers to the essence of wine as part of the European culture. To quote Lord Byron’s words “Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, make weariness forget his toil”. Solidarity towards the European community of Vignerons, buying therefore existing overstocks and promoting their work and culture. And solidarity in the diversity, blending different wines to create a single bottle, blending different cultures in a united Europe.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates already existing difficulties due to climate change and increased competition within Europe and with rest of the world producers. The project aims to show the single producers that they are all facing the same issues even if they work in different countries and a collaboration and sharing of know-how is fundamental to overcome them.
Additionally, the union of these Vignerons scattered all around Europe is the astonishing demonstration of the uniqueness of the European joined traditions, historical culture and united goodwill. Promoting European wine, they promote towards the world each of the component of the European viniculture. This will set a new picture of the capacity of Europe as a whole to face crisis and to anticipate what future will bring.
The project intends to promote a fair-trade Made in Europe top quality and unique product. The concept of a “Made in Europe wine” demonstrates that collaboration beyond borders is the fundamental step to overcome this crisis that affected all the actors of the viniculture sector. This concept is reflected in the baseline of their company logo that states: “Wine in Europe”.
Europe is a Terroir: many specific vineyards for a unique organoleptic experience. Each vinicultural local production offers its own peculiar contribution to the final blended nectar to deliver the best synthesis of European wine. This pan European winegrowers’ partnership will set the synthesis of the European Wine Culture to the world. Accepting to share and enhance the identity of a common final product in such an unimaginably global crisis, is the upmost demonstration of a united common European front.
Aside the agricultural face of the project, it is even more relevant the focus on the cultural initiative. Through the documentary filmmaking they plan to promote local players, distinctive wine regions, and portraits of European wine makers. The documentary aims to be a pan European road movie set to display the dialogues among the winegrowers, their opinions and feelings towards their experience, their ideas on Europe and the current crisis and their vision of a fairer future.
Grant awarded: €30000