JMIB and Covid-19 March 23rd, 2020

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Bucolic Burgundy Away from the Vines

A day goes by and the situation changes. A week ago the biennial Grands Jours de Bourgogne were supposed to start, but were cancelled, wisely, albeit with only a few days notice. Some individual events still took place and as recently as last Thursday (12th March) I attended my last external tasting. Since then I have not left our property, except for some solo walks in the hills. So far we have a healthy household.

All events for the next few months have of course been cancelled: visits to taste with the growers, events I was hosting in London and Burgundy, group tastings such as White Burgfest (due to be held in May) and any other displacements from home. This has allowed me though to catch up with a backlog of tasting notes: don’t worry, there will still be fresh material to read in the coming months, and I am also progressing work on the second edition of Inside Burgundy, the book.

We are among the lucky ones: we have food and we certainly have wine; we have books to read (and write!) and there is plenty of work to do in the garden for physical exercise should restrictions get even tighter. I can now easily empathise with Anna Drillien-Dutreuil who lived near Montagny in southern Burgundy during the Second World War. On more than one occasion she was arrested for going into her garden (in Vichy France) from her house (in the occupied zone). Could this happen to me if I cross the road (without paperwork) from our house to the field where our horses and sheep are currently munching away at the spring grass?

I repeat, we are among the lucky ones, living with space in the country. We are doing our very best to minimise avoidable risks of virus contamination and we are managing stress levels through sensible dosing with good wine in the evenings. Our hearts go out to all those who find themselves in more difficult circumstances, worrying about the health of close friends and relatives. Stay home and stay healthy!

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