26. April 2019
An internationally-renowned Brazilian artist and an artisan from Champagne make a rather surprising combination. And yet, as soon as we got onto the subject of botany, flowers, plants and trees, we just clicked. Ruinart becomes RuinART
Our close relationship with nature allowed us to understand each other right from the start. Vik Muniz is an amazing artist who never really talks about his subject matter, but rather about a whole bunch of elements that, when put together like a mental puzzle, give meaning to his idea. It takes time and distance to really get to grips with his way of thinking. When he came to see me in Reims, we spent some very enjoyable hours in the vineyards, obviously, but also in the forest of Faux de Verzy, which has some rather unusual trees. After spending time in Champagne, I went to Rio, where Vik brought me into his world, and showed me the plants he knows so well: the tropical gardens that surround his house and the renowned alley of fig trees that leads to the botanical gardens of his childhood. When Ruinart gave Vik carte blanche to put forward his own creative vision of our Maison, he started with its foundations: the earth and the vineyard. And that’s exactly where, as Cellar Master, I take inspiration for my craft. Especially this year, when there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the 2018 harvest! “Creative tension” is how I describe the vision and fascination with nature that we share giving us the energy to create. For Vik without setting limits or constraints, and for me by respecting a 290-year-old tradition that I have a duty to develop by listening to nature. These two approaches may seem to contrast with each other, but they can both be traced back to shared roots which have much greater meaning than I could have possibly imagined. This year, we are also launching our “Food for Art” program, which presents new experiences stemming from partnerships between chefs and artists, based on our wines. We are starting out with David Toutain, who just recently received his second Michelin star, and who came to meet us both in Reims. This book tells our wonderful story. A story of artists and artisans for whom nature is the beginning of everything. I hope that you will feel, as we have, the creative forces that have nurtured this adventure.
Frédéric Panaïotis, Ruinart Cellar Master
Images: Courtesy of Ruinart