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Of Wine, Oak Barrels, and Money: Valorization in Turkey's Boutique Winemaking
(Graduate Institute Geneva)
Paper short abstract:
To understand how boutique producers generate "the economy of enrichment" (Boltanski & Esquerre 2017), this paper puts different actors and actants (winemakers, soil, and oak barrels) into a dialogue. Valorization is achieved by creating a story that affects the ultimate life of the produced wine.
Paper long abstract:
"The first bottle of £100 Turkish wine" recently hit the headlines. To show the uniqueness of the most expensive bottle, reference was made not only to the exceptional harvest from a specific year and specific parcels but also to two sets of brand-new oak barrels. There is a growing appreciation in Turkey's wine market for the taste and use of oak barrels. Although barrels are expensive import materials, their numbers have been ever increasing due to investments of elites and the role of international winemakers and oenologists who make wineries foreground quality rather than quantity. Quality-oriented boutique winemaking has a short history in Turkey and economic valuation has been accepted as a form of achievement. Therefore, the above-mentioned bottle is presented as a success story for the country's wine industry. What makes a bottle worth 100 British Pound? How is it different from other wine produced in the same winery or in other wineries? Through the use and presence of an "oak barrel" that is not produced in the country but accepted as an essential item to produce fine wine, I will discuss how the taste of wine is improved, how the unique values of wines are boosted, and how what Luc Boltanski and Arnoud Esquerre call "the economy of enrichment" is generated. By putting different actors and actants (winemakers, soil, and oak barrels) into a dialogue, I argue valorization is maintained through creating a story which is effective in changing the ultimate life of the produced materials.
Infrastructures of Value: Uniqueness and Genericness in Agri-Food Chains [Food Network]