Tucked into a picturesque valley along the Argens river in Provence, in south-east France, is a village that is known as the First Organic Village of France. The village of Correns got together in 1995 and made a decision that all agriculture in the town would be organic. A majority of the agriculture in the town is actually viticulture, and there’s a decent chance you’ve had a rosé that came from Correns.
That’s because Correns gained international notice for its Provençal rosé when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married there, and later purchased Chateau Miraval in Correns. Chateau Miraval rosé is still widely available, despite the couple’s split.
But this isn’t about celebrity fairy tales with unhappy endings. This is about a group of people who decided to make organic values the defining characteristic of their community. If I had Brangelina money, I’d want to buy a castle in that town too. That’s kind of the point… wouldn’t we all want that?
There are several communities that are leaning in the Correns direction, but they are few and far between.
In the U.S.A. the town with the best shot at this may be Hopland, California. In this quaint hamlet in Mendocino County, a majority (11) of the wineries are organic and/or biodynamic. This includes the one of the largest organic wineries in the U.S. – Bonterra.
There’s also Fetzer, which, while not making organic wines, manages hundreds of acres of organically farmed vineyards and has the distinction of being the largest Certified B Corp winery in the world.
Wouldn’t everyone want to live in a community where you didn’t have to tediously read ingredients lists to make sure you aren’t ingesting more chemicals than actual food, where your kids can play in the rivers without worry of being poisoned by agricultural or industrial run-off, where you can eat at the local restaurants with confidence that the entrees and beverages are clean, healthy, and nutritious?
So why is Correns unique in the world then?
To me, that’s an important question, and why it’s worth highlighting these towns. I hope they soon won’t be unique.