Session details


Miki Sugiura Hosei (University Japan)


Terroir, Urban Network, Market 


By looking at interactions of wine terroirs and cities, this session clarifies how cities and urban networks were influenced and transformed by the territorialization of agricultural products. The concept of terroir, highlighting the role of the ‘sense of the place’ of wine production area from both topographical, geological and socio-economic and cultural aspects, is extensively used in understanding the formation of wine locality, territorialization of the products, and cultural heritage. 

Terroir has been primarily associated with rural, agricultural areas. However, configuration of terroir is tightly linked with the urban. Cities plays essential roles in the formation of terroirs, as makers and facilitators of territorial regulations, as gateways of products, and markets of products. Moreover, wine terroirs and their grading and ranking of product had international impacts. Already by the Early Modern period, they affected the wine distribution of the Netherlands or Britain. 

Formation of terroir urged not only diversification but also hierarchization of wine localities and products. Likewise, the interregional network that has risen with the formation of terroir connecting diverse production areas, mediating cities/gateways, and market regions as nodes could take hierarchical or centralized structure with gateway cities that assembled and distributed wine becoming its center. Understanding this dynamism is essential in understanding the cities and their networks. 

The session sees how historical formation of terroir changed cities and broader spatial settings by looking at three leading French wine producing areas of Bordeaux, Lorraine, and Champagne. The first paper on Bordeaux, analyzes the multi-dimensional spatial changes occurred with the introduction of wine grading of Cru, focusing on Saint-Émilion area, the city of Bordeaux and beyond. The second paper clarifies the transregional network formation surrounding the wine regions of Lorraine, highlighting the changing positionality and functions of the bordering cities of Metz. The third paper demonstrates how terroirs of Champagne were formed within the multi-dimensional interactions between wineries on rivers, wineries in the mountains, cities and broader market spheres. Finally, the fourth paper examines the urban network of the Dutch Republic was influenced by the distribution of French and German wines.


Frontier Character and Viticulture at Riverfront Cities in Early Modern France: Saumur and Metz


Masanori Sakano (Sophia Universit, Tokyo)


Riverfront City of Early Modern France, Frontier City and Borderless Cultural Exchange of 17th Century, Urban and "Terroir" History


Saumur, the city located on the side of Loire valley in western France, has been famous not only for being the economical hub of the “appellation” wine but also for being the confessional base of the Huguenots since the leadership of Duplessis-Mornay. While Protestant Academy gathered foreign students from North European Protestant regions, English, Dutch and other foreign travelers and traders regularly visited this city in the seventeenth century. This cosmopolitan milieu of Saumur promoted wine export to the Northwestern European countries. Simultaneously, discourse of foreign visitors contributed to spreading the prestige of their wine and the reputation of the city towards markets and consumers abroad. The paper examines this process by analyzing several contemporary travel notes. 

In contrast, the city of Metz was located on the intersection of the two axes: Lyon-Trier and Reims-Strasbourg, along the Meuse valley in eastern France. Metz held a peculiar political and military position represented by its placement as prince-bishopric of Metz, and the French royal bastion against semi-independent Duchy of Lorraine. While this strategic and frontier city was favored with multi-confessional lives between Catholic, Protestant, and Jew, the French military presence was indispensable at the time of Louis XIV’s wars. During this time, Metz held the contradiction of being longtime garrison and simultaneously increasing wine production. Whereas viticulture must be expanded in order to supply enough wine for soldiers, the reinforcement of fortress necessitated neighboring lands to be used for vineyards. The intervention of Marshal Vauban promoted the coexistence of the two types of land. Thus, urban and territorial conditions regulated the landscape of ‘terroir’ in Metz. The paper examines these issues through the analysis of contemporary maps.

The paper’s comparative analysis will enable us to grasp the landscape of terroirs not only through the agricultural and climatological contexts of the rural world, but also through the cultural and political contexts of the urban and its territorial world.

Parallel Formation of Terroir Products and Regions: Champagne in the 18th–19th Centuries


Kazue Akamatsu (Kyoto Institute of Technology)


Terroir, Champagne, Wine


The reputation of champagne as a sparkling wine grew gradually from the mid-18th century, expanding to the interregional, global scale by the end of the 19th century. The regional and spatial formation of Champagne was closely linked with the evolution of the production, distribution and consumption of champagne as a wine product in the 18th and 19th centuries. Roger Dion’s argument emphasizing the strong influence of distribution on the formation of prominent wine regions finds confirmation in the case of the region of Champagne. 

Champagne’s regional formation pivoted around maisons, newly established centres for the production, sale and distribution of the product champagne. Maisons’ localities, topographical associations and interactions with the provincial authorities formed the basis of Champagne as a region. In particular, the reorganization of wine production based on maisons in this period induced the integration of two different wine regions, which until the 18th century had been understood as wine of the rivers and wine of the mountains, into the single region of Champagne. In the background of this integration, two contradictory vectors overlapped: while the territorial distinctiveness of the river and mountain regions decreased, the localities of newly acquired maisons becoe increasingly important for regional identity. 

The maisons in Champagne should be considered as the spatial nucleus of the region alongside the cities and villages of the region, which are all indispensable for understanding the regional formation. The spatial structures formed by the maisons can be typified in relation to the topography. This paper examines the spatial structure of three maisons in three different locations (Reims, Aÿ and Chalons-en-Champagne) to decipher their regional and territorial formations. By reconstructing the formations of both the product and the space and territory of champagne from the perspectives of market distribution and the maisons’ political and economic agency, the paper confirms that the configuration of the wine product had a strong impact on regional and spatial formation.

French Wine Terroirs and Early Modern Dutch Markets


Miki Sugiura (Hosei University)


Dutch Republic, Wine, Commerce


It is well known that Dutch merchants and their markets were the facilitators and developers of the interregional (international) trade in French wine, particularly Bordeaux wine. To what extent and in what ways were Dutch wine merchants and consumers involved in the establishment of French wine terroirs? 

The Dutch contribution to the French terroirs is ambiguous. In distributing French wine, Dutch merchants and shippers made a series of innovations for shipping, producing and distributing wine, including improvements to wine barrels, bottles and corks and blending methods for making the fragile quality of wine stable. Moreover, wine cultivated a new domestic mercantile system in the early modern Netherlands, characterized by the establishment of urban specialized wine merchants and extensive usage of the beurtveer interregional waterway shipping system. Via the beurtveer system, specialized merchants were directly connected to customers beyond their cities, an innovation that overcame traditional retail regulations limiting traders’ transactions within the city. Thus, French wine formed a large market in which specialized traders and consumers actively participated. The weekly wine price list for Amsterdam and other Dutch cities became the international standard for wine evaluation. 

Wine traders at this stage extensively practised blending, mixing, adding sweetness or acidity to, and distilling wine, which led to the creation of popular wine brands but compromised the origins and territorialization of French wine. However, French wines were evaluated in the Dutch Republic in terms of small vineyard locations from the early stages. A wine taxation list made by the Dutch merchant in the mid-17th century sorted French wines by the names of the villages and parochial units of Gironde. There is no doubt that these categories became the foundation of Bordeaux’s Cru grading system. By analysing wine price lists and shipping lists, as well as notary records of the 17th–early 19th centuries, this paper clarifies how localities and territorial units of French wine were labelled, branded and graded at various levels of the Dutch wine market.