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Filming in the Azores

by Stéphan Balay

On May 9, 2019 I landed in the Azores archipelago, invited to present Vitis prohibita to winemakers and officials in the context of meetings, debates and conferences on viticulture, on different islands that make up the archipelago.

It was an opportunity to visit vineyards of prohibited grape varieties, mainly Herbemont and Isabella. It was a unique opportunity to meet passionate winemakers and to film vineyards in landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else.

The debates and tastings that followed the screenings showed that whatever the country or the terroir, people are attached to their vines and their wines. Wine is a culture deeply rooted in landscapes, traditions and society.

On the island of Pico, Antonio Maçanita, founder of Azores Wine Company, opens a bottle of "xxxx a proibida", made from the red grape variety "Isabella". Banned in Europe, it is therefore intended for export, the name of the grape variety was censored by order of the authorities.

These are the same forbidden grape varieties, resulting from crossbreeding with American varieties, that we find here in the Azores, in Italy, in Austria, in Romania, in the French Cévennes mountains... these places that I visited to shoot "Vitis prohibita". And yet each place, each wine, also has its own identity, its own culture. Prohibition is experienced as an injustice and a negation of identity.

These are the first images shot for the film "Bon Voyage Vitis".


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