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  • Writer's pictureCláudio Giordano

Smaller items of BVReppucci

The BVReppucci collection (in fact, like any collector's compendium) contains both the "monumental" items as well as a simple sheet and, in between of those two extremes, books, booklets, magazines, etc. of the most varied sizes and importance. A good number of them (for example, documents) are filed in boxes or collective folders).

It's the case of two small French publications: a wine dealer catalog and a small weekly magazine, both published in the early 1930s; we bring the two to the fore to soften the uneasy times of the covid-19 pandemic, due to the simple, relaxed, if not playful, although suggestive character of the illustrations of the two publications.

The small catalog (14 x 18cm. - 20pp.) promotes the products of the dealer Caves Félix Potin. Félix Potin (1820-1871) was a successful French entrepreneur, the founder of a retail stores chain and a mass distributor that, even after his death, continued to expand and operated until 1958, when it was sold and years later, it was liquidated.

Each section of the catalog is decorated with vignettes that seek to express the nature of the advertised drinks.

Table Wine



Port Wines

Mâconnais, Beaujolais,

d’Alsácia, d’Anjou...

Seeking information on L'Animateur des Temps Nouveaux, we found that Louis Forest (1872-1933, pseudonym of Louis Nathan) founded it in 1926 (N.1, March 12th) leading it until its closure in 1933 (N. 406, December 15th); the weekly publications were anti-Marxist and anti-government; Forest represented the liberal right, engaging in all the political debates of his time; he was aligned with Dreyfus defenders and - interesting detail - he was connected to the Félix Potin company (the catalog we mentioned above.)

Said BVR sample is a "special number" (379, June 9, 1933 - 24 x 15cm, 24pp.), dedicated to "the Good Wine of France", the title of the opening text, where we read:

During the Great War [the 1st] there was a tragic moment, among many others, when the Government feared that the army would lack pinard [table wine]. A soldier with no wine? What is going on?”

Thanks to the Midi, to the Algerian departments and to Tunisia, the French soldiers were not left without their share of wine.

The situation today is the reverse: we no longer fear the lack of pinard wine, but conversely, the excess of it. Does such abundance of goods become harmful, establishing a wine crisis and compromising the understanding between the various departments of France?

This is what L'Animateur des Temps Nouveaux will strive to explain, with its customary impartiality, solely aiming to safeguard the common interest.

L'Animateur exposes the conflict scenario: wines from the Midi versus wines from Algeria. Midi winemakers claim that Algerian production and its entry into the French market should be limited.

Deputy Barthe, the official spokesman for Midi winemakers, first said that “the 18 million hectoliter increase in Algerian production is a deadly danger to the entire wine industry. It is necessary to limit the production in Algeria ”.

Later, changing his tone, he said: "In the future, there will be no more France and agricultural Algeria, but just one great France". Is he not contradicting the proverb: In vino veritas?

Midi wines versus Algerian wines?

France's Midi and Algeria are major wine producers.

The wine problem is not a problem of geographical interest. It is a matter of national interest.

Limiting the entry of Algerian wine into the French market will be the ruin of Algeria, as vineyards and wine are its great wealth. In addition, that country is one of the largest consumers of French products.

The French Department of Algeria only wants an equal treatment, a national unit. If wine production needs to be restricted, it must be uniform for all French departments - metropolitan and Algerian. Otherwise there will be two categories of French - those of metropolitan France and those of Algerian France.

French products enter Algeria freely. So Algerian products must also enter France freely.

Algerian wines are indispensable to Midi wines. They are of excellent quality, rich in alcohol and have a pleasant taste. And they effectively regulate wine quality and prices. To suppress this regulator or shorten its action would disorganize the French viticulture and spoil the French consumer.

Having made these considerations and stating that the contingency of Algerian wines is a remedy that would aggravate evil, L'Animateur affirms that there are effective and appropriate measures to overcome the wine crisis, a crisis more of quality than quantity: The pure and simple interdiction of piquettes. The pickets are obtained by pouring water on the residues of grape skin and berries of the grapes that produced the wine. The law allows the making of this drink, which is not wine, but only for domestic consumption and it cannot be marketed. Countless producers do not resist the temptation to turn piquettes into terrible wines, provoking a new fermentation of the grape bagasse by adding sugar and tartaric acid.

Being a misdemeanor or not, that is, the illicit sale, it represents a 60 million hectoliters production of piquette, therefore reducing the same amount of consumption of good wine, real wine.

In its final article, the magazine summarizes:

In fact, there is no excess of wine: in fact, there is an abuse of fake wines. Amazingly, there are those who make wine from anything but grapes. As illogical and strange as the law that authorizes the manufacture and consumption of shameful piquettes of 3 or 4 degrees; on the other hand, it prohibits the consumption of natural wines of less than 8 degrees, thus vetoing healthy and comforting products. Isn't drinking with the family, simply drinking?

That is the problem of the wine crisis. Until the piquettes are banned, nothing will alleviate the crisis in the wine market. There is a silent conspiracy around the piquettes. No one in the House dares to stand up against the piquettes subject, with fear of dissatisfying voters or big interests. The piquette became an article of faith in the demagogic catechism. It is a crime to sacrifice the national interest and the health of the consumers to electoral interests. Isn't there anyone in the Parliament who is honest and independent enough to start a public action against the piquette?

Once the vine probity is restored, Algeria and the Midi will toast for their mutual health. This will only be possible if the inferior products that harm the consumption and the sales are banned from the market; prohibit once and for all the manufacture of piquettes made from washing grape marc; allow only the manufacture of grape wine; reinforce repressive measures against fraud and enforce strict laws.

Once these measures are taken, the conflicts between Midi's and Algeria's departments will end. There is the solution; not elsewhere.

Translated by Mônica H. Reppucci.


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