The Pink Lady (it’s an apple) Food Photography Awards http://www.pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com/2014/
are an all-embracing recognition of food photography by literally anyone, anywhere old enough to hold a camera.
That is its delight. To see an 11-14 year old glowing in anticipation, but simply very happy to have a photo hung in an exhibition is marvellous. It not only takes all us old timers who have been doing for years, back to our first steps in photography, but shows what an eye for a picture and a passion for a subject can produce from not only professionals but amateurs too, and of any age.
Fortunately for me the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year does not include the younger generations. Divided into 3 categories, produce, place and people with the accolade going to an overall winner.
I arrived to find I had two portraits and a landscape out of three finalists in each group.The Mall Gallery walls were a riot of colour with food images from around the world, but more importantly an atmosphere of celebration rather than competition that meant it easy to talk to other finalists, meet new friends, old friends and heroes I never expected to have the chance to talk to – Tessa Treager for one. http://www.tessatraeger.com Gorgeous work from a lovely lady.
It was thoroughly good evening with great memories.
Wine photography is not celebrated or as crowded and well paid as food photography. One look in your local bookshop or on a book website will tell you why.
While food books or travel books can be a substitute for the real thing they are often at best something to whet the appetite.
Wine photography is there to give life to what you have in your glass by reminding you of wines origins and creators.
So well done Errazuriz for shining a light on it.
My April visit was a chance to meet the editor from Glénat the publisher, and François Perroy who will be writing the accompanying text. Things are starting to move quickly now in terms of production: picture selection, design and layout and most especially the choice of a title. Even a three hour dinner with a group of winemakers did not quite finish that job! We did have a very pleasant tour of the Hill with Claude Chapuis, author of an earlier book on Corton, as company and source of a lot of information for François.
It was the start of a sunny and dry week and continued March’s lack of rain – 15mm I was told
The second day, after I’d made my usual pre-dawn start, was a morning visiting winemakers and tasting. Perhaps I should have done this at the end of every day !<img
A vendangeur’s model of a cabotte still sits on a wall in Charlemagne six months later
Saturday brings an excuse to join the tourists (and several winemakers) at Beaune market before a celebration lunch with friends Gareth and his wife Bérangère. A long lunch is followed by a trip out the pottery at Evelle near Nolay.
Down in Evelle, Philippe is hard at work keeping up with demand.
Sunday should have been palm Sunday in Savigny-Les-Beaune but I was invited to “Le Parcours des Trétaux” at Pernand-Vergelesses which happens only every two years so no decision necessary !
Three hundred visitors are divided in to three teams ( Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and ALigoté ) at the first winery venue where we are all presented with an Aligoté aperitif and gougeres along with our first of several theatrical entertainments before our “team” was led off by our guide Sebastien and his drum. While there is no rush each teams arrival at their next entertainment and food course ( accompanied by several wines of course ) is carefully timed as we crisscross the village from one domaine to another.
Hats off to Matthieu the master of ceremonies who is the star of the whole day, as “Belinda” (if I heard correctly) a cross between Liza Minelli and Darth Vader.
Put it in your diary for April 2016, it’s not to be missed!
Its been a busy time with the vignerons all out on the Hill as the weather improved. Great to see spring arriving and the promise of a new vintage after last years problems.
Of course I have not seen March on the Hill before and there is so much to enjoy.
Normally my working visits over the years have been geared towards shooting portraits of growers for my library. Four or five visits a day, picking up vineyard shoots at dawn and dusk is the usual pattern. Working on the Hill has taught me something about what to look for: beauty in close up. And to spend time looking for the best examples of what you need.
The rising sap, for example, appears as tears as it drops from the end of each pruned vine, indicating the branches are supple enough, or soon will be, to bend and tie to the wires.
There will be new posts and new wires to be installed, ground to be ploughed, and sometimes the last pruning to be pulled off and burnt or heaped in tidy rows to be ground up.
It has always been my aim to have plenty of portraits of the proprietors as well as the guys in the vines, although the owners are often the ones I meet in the vineyard. Hopefully there will be a large splash of 66+ portraits of all those owners who have supported this book. A chance for you meet at least some of the owners of vines on Corton.
If you’ve had the opportunity to attend the “Grands Jours de Bourgogne”, a biennial promotional week when the region greets the wine trades professionals, some of you will already have met some of them, even if it is often in crowded, busy situations.
I had to be there for the day of “Terroirs de Corton” when the world came to, this year, Aloxe-Corton and discovered Château Corton André and the cuverie of Maison Louis Latour that has been dug into the lower slopes along the road. This place gave me my first great memory of Burgundy when I first came here in 1979, knowing absolutely nothing about wine or Burgundy !
They have not commissioned my work, I am independent in how I approach the subject. But what do I know ? I must take advice on what Corton and the villages are all about and then build my own picture from my point of view, not their’s.
We have well over 60 growers subscribed and have managed without assistance from any sponsors, including the BIVB. Of course the negociants are big subscribers but there is no favourable treatment, my aim is to involve as many owners as possible in the project as the small parcel owners can be even prouder of their ownership of the Corton appellations.
I am not producing a guide to the wines of the Hill, more celebrating the place itself, the vignerons who work it and the communities around it.
It seems to be a formula that’s appreciated here otherwise there would not have been the support I am so proud to have received. Photographically, its very much a story told from the grower’s perspective I hope, so there needs to be a lot of consultation.
The meeting went well and everything is on course for a November publication in French but with a number of copies in English.
I knew from the start Corton had a story that could not be told in pictures alone so we have a writer to compliment 170-odd pages of photography through a year on the Hill and in the villages.
While the photography is not quite finished I have had to edit what I have shot so far in order that the editor can get started and the growers offer advice on what I may have missed.
Well that was a long job and a tough one and the reason this post is so late !
I have two visits in March, one to meet up again with the publisher and growers to get their feedback, and the second to see how Corton presents itself during Burgundy’s big biennial promotional week, Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne 17-22 March when its possible for the press and wine professionals to taste all the Burgundian appellations from Chablis to Macon as they move south. In early April I will team up for a couple of days with the writer to help him see the Hill from my point of view.
Apart from the meeting I was able to observe the work on the Hill in sun, wind and rain, as well as meeting the new and former owners of Maison Jacques Copeau in Pernand-Vergelesses. I was able to take a look around inside this shrine, once home to the great French man of the theatre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Copeau .
It seems that nearly 500,000 people signed that petition – that is a very high number of experts. Some people probably did so without full understanding of the facts – as I did. I put the link on the blog because it is a very serious situation that we should be thinking about. It is, I hope something that can be discussed and I already have one comment on the subject. I would appreciate anyone with knowledge taking the time to offer a point of view here.
I have heard no news of any judgement as yet, but any ruling will not be the end of the matter. The problem must still be solved in the best way possible. I do not believe sending Monsieur Giboulet to jail or not will not provide the solution to a complex problem. Sharing knowledge might. As Bill Nanson put it, what price Unesco recognition if there are no vines….
I’m sure this is worthy of your attention: http://ipsn.eu/petition_ld/remerciement_viticulteur/
I do wish I’d met him earlier, or at least drunk his wine, but I’ll make sure I do both as soon as I.
Cassecroute and a glass of something around 6.30 a.m. is followed by the call for the porters and statues to take their usual position in the line-up in the street to begin a non-stop trail through the vineyards before being engulfed by the scrum of tourists waiting in the village. The event plays more to press photographers’ strengths than mine so a little preparation helps the decision making process. Having to follow a particular group, the groups from Aloxe, Pernand and Ladoix-Serrigny means I am on the move all the time but great light and location can be spoiled by the unexpected arrival of unwanted additions to the scenario such as first aiders in hi-viz gear or just enthusiastic fellow photographers leaping in. All you can do is accept it and keep shooting.
By the time we climb out of the village of Gamay the sky is lightening to reveal thin strips of pink edged cloud and we find ourselves among the frosted vines of St Aubin with occasional small christmas trees bedecked with white flowers dotted along the way.
The processional bands sound a long way back, coming it seems, from another, more rumbustious world than the remoteness and peace of the vineyard slopes.
Soon we arrive at St Aubin itself and it’s impossible to keep up with the statues among the crowds but the previous day’s visit has reminded me of the available shortcuts and I gain time to talk to the Gendarmes controlling traffic on the N 6. I am searching for an opportunity to represent this very French part of local life in the story of Corton and they are happy to cooperate.
Next stop its the war memorial and a stirring rendition of the Marseillaise.
Then its uphill to the church where the statues are tightly packed together in Dominique Derain’s courtyard while the porters are at Mass. By now St Aubin is filling up and the crowds around the church and `Dominique’s courtyard are waiting for the Mass to finish and the procession to descend back past the Monument Aux Morts and on to the old château in Gamay. There retired vignerons fom the village will be intronised into the Chevaliers du Tastevin.
The crowd however is causing a “bouchon” or traffic jam as porters struggle to get in to the courtyard and manoeuvre out with their statues. Slow going means my villages are standing around chatting rather than processing but the bands are great entertainment, especially that from Meursault.
At the memorial I call it a day, lunch is calling and that means queueing…
There will be over 20,000 here today, time to get ahead of the game and head for the food stands back up round the church of St Aubin (of course) in front of the tide coming up from the buses arriving from Chagny station that disembark at Gamay. After frites, sausage and a gauffre (waffle) I retrace my steps around the village and encounter winemakers smiling in the sun among the incoming crowds, each visitor carrying their 15 euro package of tasting glass and 7 tickets to various wine outlets dotted around the village. A very good day will go on for a long time yet and later these locals will be dressed in their best to enjoy another banquet tonight.
I have a ticket…. as chauffeur to my photographer friend Thierry, so its another late night before Sunday’s train home.
It was a good night, I was sat between the Best Sommelier in France 1994 and an English importer so I tried to keep my opinions to myself ! Here are some images…
If anyone knows a reliable weather website, do let me know !
Amongst all the appointments and eating, I planned to have time on the Hill on Thursday and Friday to shoot the landscape and work, hoping the light might be interesting…
Thursday gave a little fog early but the rest of the day was unexciting and so I took an early lunch and explored Serrigny and caught up with some editing before things got briefly promising around 4 pm.
Altogether it was the quiet day I needed after Wednesday and before Saturday. Friday was gorgeous for a while on the Ladoix side, then I had an appointment to talk pictures at Le Charlemagne restaurant in Pernand before lunch.
I decided to recce St Aubin that afternoon before Saturday’s procession, to see how the decorations were progressing and say “bon courage!” to anyone I knew. It may seem last minute but all the traditional paper flowers are put on the eve of the big day to avoid rain damage.
I found Olivier Lamy’s father, now retired, hanging his photographs of the vineyards and local cabottes outside his house. Hubert was, as always, a genial bear of a man with a permanent twinkle in his eyes and huge vigneron’s hands. Gerard Prudhon, the mayor, was everywhere, calmly checking this and that. Its St Aubin’s first ever hosting of the St Vincent but all was well and getting more attractive by the minute as more and more paper flowers went up. These flowers are a communal production as everyone, young and old, spends an evening once a week at the town hall throughout the preceding year creating what must be hundreds of thousands of them. The pride is visible if not tangible. Its great to see St Aubin looking so good, we just hope the rain stays away.
Friday evening was spent having supper with a friend, Marie-Luce Château, who tends the small parcel of vines she inherited in Perrieres and Charlemagne, selling the crop to a negociant.
It was a long awaited evening as the other guests were Tom Kevill-Davies and his girlfriend. Tom is renovating an old watermill near Auxey-Duresses to create the “Hungry Cyclists'” Lodge” as a base for cyclists interested in Burgundy’s gastronic delights. Having read the first chapter of his book The Hungry Cyclist, which recounts his cycle ride across the US and South to Rio in search of great food, I know he will succeed. I can recommend the book even to non-cyclists and non-foodies, it’s a really funny read and he will make a great host. http://thehungrycyclist.com/lodge/
It turns out that January to March is a quiet time in the tonnellerie world so my visit to Cadus in Ladoix-Serrigny had to be on a Wednesday, St Vincent’s day and they start toasting at 7 a.m.
This session was followed by a change of clothes and a dash to cassecroute at Domaine Marey around 9.00 with those of Pernand going to the Mass at Echevronne at 10.30 where their statue of St Vincent, along with those of Aloxe, Pernand and Ladoix are blessed. Aperatifs at 12.30 at Domaine Rollin, the new guardians of the Pernand statue. Banquet then at the Salle des Fêtes in Aloxe around 1.30 until 7.00 ( yes really ), finishing off with a Soirée Dansant at Domaine Maratray-Dubreuil, new guardians of the statue in Ladoix, laid on in their cuverie beginning at 8.15.
The earliest departure there was 1 a.m.
is another unheralded skill the winemaker must have. If you ever in wine country there is probably a cooperage not far away, in deed some establishments make or maintain their own barrels and its well worth a visit if you can a winemaker to request one for you. Just be ready for the noise ! Its all very elemental, lots of water, fire and steam and hammering.
Of course I arrived in Pernand a little late due to the repositioning of large holes in the road in Aloxe. I knew where to go but there was no sign of activity until you stop and listen outside the right door ! The people you know are friendly but those who don’t know you are a little curious at the arrival of a professional camera at proceedings and its difficult to achieve an air of normality. But Domaine Marey’s wine and chevreuil pâté are a treat and its so warm with so many bodies crammed in that the camera lens has steamed up anyway!
Its a brief stay as I must get to the church of St Andoche in Echevronne before the crowds in order to see Father Jean-Paul who has a seat set aside for me.
In front of the altar is the Christmas crib still and in front of that is a Burgundy basket that is being filled with bottles from the winemakers as they arrive. Something to sustain the priest through the year ahead!
The church fills as the statues are brought in and I am surrounded by winemakers squeezed into this little 12c church to celebrate the biggest day in their calendar. Not a tourist, client or importer in sight and I’m trying to make myself as small as possible ! But I don’t need to worry, they know why I am there and are happy to see me.
After mass everyone crowds into the street to greet those from the other villages so there is not much room to work and the competition from everyone with a phone camera or a point-and-shoot is intense. But its their day, not mine.
A similar crowd awaits at Domaine Rollin who will host the statue next and are providing the aperatif before the village banquet.
The next destination is the banquet at Aloxe where I am greeted enthusiastically by Mayor Maurice Chapuis and another winemaker Bruno Colin (no relation to the Colins in Chassagne and Gamay )
Soon the plates and wines are arriving but everything proceeds at a gentle pace and the time flies past with songs that might just be occasionally bawdy followed by stand up comedy by the Mayor’s wife . How I wish my French was better !
Its been a privilege to be there. Burgundy never ceases to provide new experiences.
Time for a lie down before seeing what is going on at Domaine Maratray-Dureuil, new guardians of Ladoix’s statue
Its a younger and boisterous crowd here but then they have already done a few hours celebrating and look as if they are ready to start all over again!
Trouble is I could not force down another mouthful and I settle for Evian after the Ladoix blanc that greets me.
Without eating and drinking its difficult to join in so I shoot what I want and leave everyone to let their hair down in privacy. Its been a long day…
Tuesday was, at least, dry. No rain or fog but before dawn Bouchard’s Corton worker was making smoke below their red tiled…, well its hardly a cabotte, more a small house and major landmark on the hill from Aloxe and Ladoix. Anyway its always a choice to be made in the morning; to do a quicker circular tour of Les Bressandes on a good surface (now with small kerb stones to stop you driving into the large open concrete drain) or head through Aloxe-Corton and up betwen Perrieres and Pougets before swinging right to Corton or straight on to Charlemagne on tarmac that gives way to an increasingly rutted mix of soil and chunks of limestone. Not to good place to think about a three point turn !
Normally before dawn I head for Corton, its a very special place for a sunrise. I have yet to encounter any wild boar but I live in hope !
Today there is no panoramic dawn to photograph, just the smoke from a brouette with the occasional burst of flame.
What I’m really looking forward to are the visits later on to the men who have been guardians of their village’s St Vincent Statue in Aloxe and Ladoix. Monsieur Chevalier in Aloxe has just 10 rows of Aloxe village behind his house and we had a pleasant chat and a glass of his 2010.
I wonder how many other small part time vignerons there are producing good wine at good prices… On to the home of François Saguero and another guardian who may not sound a Burgundian but his hands tell me he is !