The Borderless European Wine

It might not be your first thought about wine, but the team behind OENOPE is serious about it: “The goal of our wine is to invite people to talk about what it means to be European in this world,” says Jerome Felici, co-founder. “It all started with an inner thought: what will be the wine of tomorrow?”

The Borderless European Wine by OENOPE is first of all a solidarity project in front of globalisation, climate changes and health crises. It is about creating a link between European winegrowers, to promote their know-how, their terroirs and their cultures echoing the motto of the European Union: United in Diversity. The team behind OENOPE – Jerome Felici, Françoise Roger and Bruce Roger – describe themselves as “three fellow travellers, three European dreamers, Erasmus first generation European enthusiastics, sharing their passion for wine.” They were born in Rome, Avignon and Jurançon, and thus encountered wine culture at a young age. Later in life, working in the food sector they noticed that all wine growers in Europe were facing the same problems. Difficulties to sell their wine due to pandemic measures and unwanted changes in the smell and taste of wines due to climate change.

Jerome, Françoise and Bruce wanted to support European wine producers by buying their grapes and at the same time help unite Europe by telling the stories of vignerons from different European countries. The start of the project entailed selecting and buying overstocks on wine from representative wine growers and vineyards all around Europe and craft 10.000 bottles of a unique ‘borderless’ blended wine expressing the best of each element of them. “We were looking for indigenous wines, for European ways of producing. We told local wine makers that their modes of production might not be existing anymore in ten years time. Due to climate changes – droughts, or the opposite; floods – and the standardisation of taste due to the globalisation of markets, many local identities, of wines but also of wine producers, are under pressure. In this world of global competition – think of Australian or Chilean wines – and new climate realities, wine makers can’t keep continuing what they have been doing for generations. We invited wine makers to think about how they want to cooperate and continue making wines. We offered them to blend their typical varieties.”

Four words describe the concept that they had in mind in creating their wine: union, discovery, solidarity and pleasure. Union refers to the blending of wines from vineyards all over Europe. For Europe is the original land of viticulture, and wine and the tradition of crafting wine are part of the European identity. Discovery refers to making consumers discover through wine the beauty of Europe, and to have them embrace the ‘Made in Europe’ label. Solidarity in action by buying existing overstocks and promoting European winemakers’ work and culture. Pleasure refers to the essence of wine as part of the European culture. To quote Lord Byron’s words, “Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, make weariness forget his toil.”