Part One: The French in crisis

Part One

in which thoughts fly high and Linux isn't even mentioned.

Or is it?

The French in crisis

Beaujolais in crisis. The secret is out!

That headline was in The News, an English-language newspaper published in France for foreigners and others interested in things French.1 I had bought a copy to read on the train when I was backpacking across Western Europe. I had made it a habit to read not only the International Herald Tribune but a local paper in each country I passed through. However, having read physics rather than French in high school, I had to resort to a French newspaper written in English. And why not?

So, what was this crisis that the Beaujolais winegrowers were facing? Had frost or crows ruined the grape harvest? Or were killer grasshoppers on the loose?

Not even close. The crisis stemmed from 2001, an exceptionally good year for the Beaujolais harvest. Yes, it had been an exceptionally good year. But the following year complete disaster loomed, because the 2002 harvest was about to be just as good! For a while this information was kept quiet, a sordid fact known only to winegrowers and other wine-trade insiders. However, the secret was now out, and the poor winegrowers were facing ruin.

  • 1"Beaujolais in crisis.' The News, France's English Language Newspaper For Residents and Lovers of France. No. 159/August 2002, p 1.
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