The hidden poverty in one of France's most prestigious wine regions


French journalist and author Ixchel Delaporte spent a year investigating the wine industry in the Médoc region near Bordeaux in south-west France. It produces some of the most prestigious – and expensive – wines not just in France but anywhere in the world. Yet the journalist's book on her experiences and discoveries reveals a deep chasm between the impoverished local workers, many of them seasonal and occasional staff, and often suffering from poor health and living in substandard accommodation, and the glittering world of the small but powerful elite who control the major vineyards. Mediapart's Joseph Confavreux reports.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

It paints an unedifying portrait; of run-down homes rented out by slum landlords, of workers laid low by muscular-skeletal problems, a wall of silence over the health impact of pesticides, a growth in and misuse of seasonal contracts, and the dominance of all-powerful lobby groups.