Terror and terroir

The winegrowers of the Languedoc and modern France

By Andrew W. M. Smith

Terror and terroir


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9435-8
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2016
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, Social & cultural history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Europe / France, HISTORY / General
  • Series: Studies in Modern French and Francophone History


Terror and terroir investigates the Comité Régional d'Action Viticole (CRAV), a loose affiliation of militant winegrowers in the sun-drenched, southern vineyards of the Languedoc. Since 1961, they have fought to protect their livelihood. They were responsible for sabotage, bombings, hijackings and even the shooting of a policeman. Against the backdrop of European integration and decolonisation they have rallied around banners of Resistance and their strong Republican heritage, whilst their peasant protests fed into Occitan and anti-globalisation movements.

At heart, however, the CRAV remain farmers championing the right of people to live and work the land. Between the romantic mythology of terroir, and the misguided, passionate violence of terror, this book unpicks the contentious issues of regionalism, protest and violence. It offers an insight into a neglected area of France's past that continues to impinge on its future, infused with one of the most potent symbols of French culture: wine.


'This volume provides a highly original and welcome contribution to the burgeoning literature devoted to the concept of terroir across the disciplines, spanning history, geography and anthropology [.] It will become a must read in the literature on terroir.'
Marion Demossier, University of Southampton, H-France Review, Volume 18 (2018), No. 74

'Smith is particularly good at his economic analysis, enriched as it is by his strong knowledge of wine and winemaking (he is also the author of The Wine Pocket Bible). His narrative of wine syndicalism occasionally becomes very crowded with names and acronyms, but he effectively uses CRAV to show the complicated interplay of regional identities, national politics and European integration on French winemaking in the second half of the twentieth century.'
Andrew S. Tomkins, French History

'Smith's prose is clear; he gives enough context to make the debates accessible even to a non-specialist in French history or the history of wine production... His punctilious use of sources from regional and national archives, local newspapers, and even oral histories reveals that the CRAV's struggle was not revolutionary or anti-statist... The true value of Smith's narrative is perhaps the articulation of a powerful counter-argument to the mythology of terroir.'
Zachary Nowak, The Journal of Wine Economics


Introduction: from tradition to terrorism
1 Memories of protests past: the Grand Revolt of 1907
2 Peasants and paroxysms: building a movement (1944-60)
3 Molotovs in the Minervois: revolution in the vines (1961-76)
4 Crossing the streams: the confluence of Oc and vine
5 Montredon to Mitterrand: socialism, syndicalism and the south (1976-84)
6 Burial or resurrection? Modernisation and marginalisation (1984-92)
7 A world of wine: European integration and globalisation
Conclusion: CRAV BOUM! Change and continuity in the role of the CRAV


Andrew W. M. Smith is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History and Politics at the University of Chichester

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