Behind the Scenes at Avignonesi with Filmmaker Guillaume Bodin
Twice over the last year we have been lucky enough to host Guillaume Bodin at Avignonesi. Guillaume is a French director, writer, and filmmaker, known for La Clef des Terroirs (2011) and Wine the Green Revolution (2012), and now, for his latest film, Insecticide, Mon Amour, which was just released October 2015. Three award-winning films that document the strengths of winemaking seen through the lens of a natural, holistic production philosophy, which relies on biodynamic practices and doesn’t allow the use of pesticides. Which is right up our alley!
Coming for his first visit in May, Guillaume was introduced to us by his friend and our consultant biodynamic agronomist, Adriano Zago. Knowing how important a natural approach to viticulture and is for us, it was a treasured opportunity for us display our transition from conventional farming to biodynamics: explain why we decided to take this direction and show how we did it.
For his second visit, in September, Guillaume had already started another documentary about biodynamic winemaking, this time focusing on the women involved with biodynamics. A perfect opportunity to involve our owner, Virginie, who decided to make Avignonesi biodynamic and our winemaker, Ashleigh Seymour, who puts the theory into practice. He was also able to witness how harvest takes place in a large biodynamic winery, where boutique winemaking ideals and advanced technology merge for the purpose of making the best possible wines, while respecting the integrity of our soil and our plants. We can’t wait to see the final results!
Guillaume is an extraordinary young man with a fiery passion for his work and a remarkably humble attitude towards everything he sees around him. Perhaps that is where he finds his gift for portraying the world of wine in such a moving fashion.
Here’s a quick Q&A from Guillaume himself, on his introduction to Avignonesi and his latest projects:
How did you become involved with Avignonesi?
I visited Avignonesi the first time with Adriano Zago, the biodynamic consultant of the winery and a friend of mine. During my first time at Avignonesi, I met Virginie Saverys, the owner. Now, as I have started to shoot a documentary about biodynamic wines, made mostly by women, I decided to come back to shoot a part of it at Avignonesi.
What were you filming while you were here? Any specifics?
My shooting takes time because I look at many places and I want to understand where am I before I put the camera in my hand. I was shooting all the grapes and the work of the team as they tasted the berries in the vineyards. I wanted to understand the decision process that is involved in defining the right date of harvest. And also I wanted to shoot the harvesting machine because this was the first time that I’ve seen one in action. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the quality of the modern harvesters! I hadn’t seen a harvester at work for 10 years and the improvement is really impressive. Otherwise, I was mostly shooting videos in the winery, interacting with the amazing and fun team for this year, including the new interns. I also interviewed Virginie Saverys, Adriano Zago, and Ashleigh Seymour about the way they coordinate the work from the vineyard to the cellar. I wanted to capture their feelings about biodynamic farming, and the process to make wine in as natural a way as possible.
Give us an introduction to your latest film, “Insecticide Mon Amour”.
This film is like a scream from my heart. I felt like I had to produce it because I didn’t understand why the French administration imposed insecticides treatments to the whole region of Burgundy in 2013. It’s true there was a problem, but the insects were actually just in 12 hectares of vineyard in north Mâconnais with Flavescencia Dorata, but the spraying had to be done in a radius of 50 to 80 kilometers from this point. The products used were very strong. If you care about your citizens and if you care about your region’s greatest commercial treasure, the Burgundy wine, why would you take such a drastic and harmful step? I made this film to find the answer for myself and then to share it with the world and show how damaging these chemicals can be to both people and plants. I made this film to show that there are other, better, solutions.
We are very very proud of Guillaume for his success with “Insecticide, Mon Amour” and for its feature in 3 major French publications:
We will continue to follow his endeavors and hope that he comes back to Avignonesi soon!