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Bottling Vino Naturale: Wine, 'the Peasant' and Infrastructures of Containment in an Italian Cooperative
(University of Kent)
Paper short abstract:
Wine is a product whose value is (increasingly) articulated around its ability to designate a specific origin. Drawing on long term fieldwork in Italy, this paper discusses the connection between this ability to bottles. Such bottles are an infrastructural basis for the global market of wine.
Paper long abstract:
Wine is an agricultural product whose value is (increasingly) articulated around its ability to designate a specific time and place of origin. By far the most prominent articulation of such valuation is that organized around 'terroir' - a concept which has recently been made an object of anthropological scrutiny. Yet in this anthropological literature, as elsewhere, there has been very little discussion concerning an artifact intimately tied to the modern history of terroir: the bottle. This paper draws on long term ethnographic fieldwork among wine producers in Italy, in order to discuss the connection between bottles and the ability for wine to index a space and time of origin. Discussing the bottle in terms of 'container technologies', the paper suggests that these artifacts provide a material-infrastructural basis that has been indispensable for shaping the principles of value that organize the global market of wine today. And, consequently, also for shaping the lives of those who live from selling such wine on this market.
Infrastructures of Value: Uniqueness and Genericness in Agri-Food Chains [Food Network]