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Vigneron-Constituent Writes Frustrated Letter to President, Gets Invitation to Pour at Élysée Palace in Response

Benjamin Hessel, winemaker at Château des Annereaux in the small Bordeaux appellation Lalande-de-Pomerol, lost almost all his crop to frost in January. Every year, it seemed to him—hail, frost, erratic weather! So he did as any frustrated citizen might: Write his representative, French President Emmanuel Macron. Hessel emailed that climate change conditions were hurting his vineyard’s production—hurting his business—though « [the letter] was more like how you write a book, as a therapy, » Hessel told Unfiltered. He didn’t expect a response.

Courtesy of Benjamin Hessel
Benjamin Hessel, vintner and concerned citizen

When Hessel heard back from Virginie Routis, Macron’s head sommelier at Élysée Palace, exactly one week later, the response was even more than he had hoped for. « She wrote, that after my letter to the President Macron, she would be glad to receive me at Élysée and taste the Château des Annereaux, » Hessel said. « I was really surprised—first to get an answer, then a personal answer from the sommelier, then to be invited at Élysée to taste my wine. »

In addition to Routis calling the wines « excellent, » as Hessel recalled, the 30-minute meeting ended with her ordering cases of Annereaux’s 2012s and 2015s. « All the work and the effort we make to produce the best wine was judged by the most important sommelier of France, » Hessel said. « [It felt like] a sort of knighting of our wine by the president. » While Macron has made great strides in blind tasting and decreed wine o’clock for lunch and dinner, it remains to be seen how much he can influence the fickle depredations of the angry weather gods.

 

Article ICI