Welcome to Anthroenology, a research project on wine and issues of sustainability, morality and the redefinition of taste.
In the project we are interested in the intersection of sustainability, the sensual experiences of consumption and the redefinition of taste and look at this through a focus on two related wine-making movements: biodynamic and ‘natural’ wine.
The project asks a deceptively simple question about consumption and political economy: when beliefs or ethics come into conflict with taste or similar expectations, which one wins, and why? Or, asked in a slightly different matter: how do our beliefs about the world affect the way we taste? The project is thus concerned with key issues in contemporary economic anthropology, but does through a lens that we believe to be unique: the intersection of beliefs and the actual sensory experiences of consumption.
The wines the project focuses on – and particularly, the loose category known as ‘natural wine’ – can taste radically different from more conventionally produces ones. Wine thus presents a unique opportunity to examine the inter-relationship between environmental concerns (sustainability) and the sensual aspects of food and drink, or consumption more broadly.
Some of the issues we seek to understand in this project include: If natural wine makers intend to continue to produce wines that are rejected by some consumers and even critics as bad, how might they engage with and shift current conceptions of taste? Do and can ethical appeals (to issues of sustainability) impact our perception of how a product (wine) should taste? To what degree do producers contribute to understandings of natural, biodynamic or otherwise ‘sustainable’ wines, particularly where agreed upon international standards (for sustainable and natural wines) are lacking, and, when present, certification is not always sought by producers?