Hi, I'm Veronique Raskin and I am the founder & CEO of The Organic Wine Company. My blog is mostly about organic wine & self-development, as well as anything else that interests and inspires me!
Sue Straight’s new article on her blog The Wine Wench; très sympathique!
Sue is flying to Montpellier for the Millésime Bio Fair, which will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Over 700 exhibitors from around the world will proudly present their organic wines to more than 3500 visitors… I really wish I could join, but I’m sure Sue and my other journalist-friends will give me a full report when they come back. Can’t wait to hear how it was!
Anyways, here is Sue’s article
As Aretha Franklin so succinctly put it in her hit song, “all I’m asking is for a little respect, just a little bit, just a little bit…”
Veronique Raskin, Founder and CEO of The Organic Wine Company is asking for the same thing, except on a much larger scale. She is asking for respect for the earth, because organic farming is so much more in harmony with the earth than modern, chemical heavy farming; respect for her ancestors and their organically-minded peers, who have been farming organically (methode biologique in France) for fifty years and it would not hurt if she and her closest colleagues here in the USA were to get just a little bit of respect for having pioneered and championed organic viticulture for over three decades.
Veronique was raised among the cathedrals of Toulouse, France. Her family heritage is one of many generations of physicians and landowners – her grandfather was both. He was a professor of medicine who also had a family estate in the Languedoc region of Southern France. It was he, who at the age of seventy-two converted the family property to organic farming. He was inspired by a small group of intrepid vintners who had started the organic wine movement in 1960. He believed that that organic farming was the right thing to do if we were to have a future as a species. He also believed that organic wines were healthier than non-organic wines, which Veronique experienced firsthand – the organic wines produced from her grandfather’s estate were the only wines she could drink without suffering the headaches that she typically endured from drinking other, non-organic wines.
Veronique’s grandfather and a small group of vintners eschewed the typical agricultural method of the day (post-war, chemical-heavy farming) and insisted on growing certified organic grapes and carefully crafting wines from them. This put their livelihoods on the line. Not only was organic farming more expensive and more difficult than conventional farming, it was also quite unpopular among their peers. They persevered against the odds and the movement slowly gained momentum, but it needed help to spread the word.
In 1980, Veronique answered her grandfather’s call and founded The Organic Wine Company.
As with her organically minded family and fellow countrymen in France, Veronique’s journey has been fraught with challenges – the main one being the assumption that wines made from certified organic grapes are somehow inferior in quality to non-organic wines (not true!!). Another newer big challenge is now the dilution of the principles of organic movement by wineries claiming “sustainable” or “green” farming and production methods.
Challenges aside, Veronique continues to persevere and is very influential for a growing momentum in the organic wine community, including being very involved with The Millésime Bio Fair, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in January 2013. Over 700 exhibitors from around the world will proudly present their organic wines to more than 3500 visitors.
Veronique’s mission (in her own words) is, “I want to bring delicious, affordable, health-friendly and planet-friendly wines to your family’s table – wines that celebrate and honor life – and thus promote the adoption of organic viticulture principles worldwide.” And she would also like a little respect (for her ancestors and the organic viticulture community) just a little bit.