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Bijou dedicates new wine to a historic workers’ rights activist

Provence and Languedoc wine producer Bijou has dedicated its new organic rosé to an activist who fought for the rights of female wine workers in the 19th century.

Rapidly growing French wine brand Bijou has added a new rosé to its ‘En Mémoire’ range, which is already available in Germany, Scandinavia, the Middle East and New Zealand. It can also be found in the UK off-trade.

An aromatic pale pink from the Coteaux Varois en Provence region, En Mémoire de Sophie Valrose pays tribute to the wine industry’s hard-working women from throughout the ages.

A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah sourced from the historic winemaking region of Plateau of La Roquebrussanne, located on the cusp of the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, the wine has complex notes of peaches and redcurrants on the nose, with a long, luxurious finish.

Bijou’s growth has been fast-paced and exponential, with the brand winning listings for its flagship ranges in both the on-trade and off-trade, driven by its organic winemaking methods.

“For as long as humans have been drinking wine, women have been associated with its craft and production,” says Edward Vellacott, commercial manager, Bijou. “From the female-only devotees of the ancient wine god Dionysus, charged with tending the precious vines, to provincial nuns of southern France and Italy, dedicating their lives to wine production as an act of religious worship, the legacy of these women is rarely recorded, yet the production of wine over the millennia would have been impossible without them.”

For this reason, Bijou decided to honour a remarkable woman who worked in wine at the turn of the last century. Sophie Valrose toiled in the vineyards of southern France, where women were often subjugated and exploited, and were, says Vellacott “experts living as second-class citizens.”

According to the brand, Velrose was a pioneer, fighting for the rights of her female colleagues, and her tireless efforts succeeded in improving working conditions for many. Her tenacity arguably paved the way for other wine workers to fight for their rights in the following decades.

“In her name, we honour and raise a glass of our organic pale rosé to all the wonderful working women of wine, named and unnamed as they may be,” says Vellacott.

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