Day 24.2: Detroit, The Paris of the Midwest

Putnam Weekley lives, works, drinks, and takes photos in Detroit.

Back in the year 2010, natural wine was it’s own backlash. And it continued, until all wine was renegotiated in natural terms such as “sustainable,” “organic,” “biodynamic,” “indigenous,” and “made from grapes.”

Thus the old narratives were replaced. What happened to “delicious with pasta and grilled meats.”



What did natural wine go with? What sort of company? What food? Did natural wine go with nature? Here, just north of Windsor Ontario, one saw nature, and art, but I’m not sure I could distinguish between them.

Dictionary. Help.

art – n. human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.

So I see. Natural wine was really an art movement. It was a reaction and resistance to imperial plastic fantastic. Eventually natural wine makers would even seize upon naive industrial wine methods in order to contrast and emphasize nature.

Thus ownership of Wine was reclaimed, however briefly, with help from ironic oenology. Clones and copper, screw caps and chaptalization. Ultimately, all references to nature would be dropped and it would begin again.

Arthur Penhallow used to refer to the suburb across Eight Mile as “Fashionable Ferndale.” It was meant to be ironic; in the 1980s Ferndale was a tough blue-collar town. But by the late twenty-aughts fashion itself had arrived, and in 2010 Ferndale had the baddest-ass selection of natural wine in the region. No cool hipster worth his brine could then claim “Fashionable Ferndale” with pride anymore. It was too true.

Of course, Budweiser remained, in spite of nature.

art – n. a re-creation of reality according to the artist’s metaphysical value judgements.

In 2010 the town of Detroit lost its important import allocation of Thierry Puzelat and Tue-Boeuf wines. There were simply too many other motivated buyers with cash, in new markets like London, England, Osaka Japan and Asheville, North Carolina.

Detroit was using its cash instead to buy inches of detroit. Besides, local prices for nature, and all natural derivatives, were stagnant. Inventories were completely out of hand.

And this all struck some of us as, well, natural. Whatever was in our cup, whatever kept the planning meeting, block club or art orgy going was, if not natural, at least apropos.

Coda: I am keeping my eye on Bonny Doon, Circa Winery and 2007 Mas des Collines. These new Bonny Doon products in particular reward patience and ego-negative appreciation.

Note: This is a double post day. Check out https://saignee.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/day-24-slow-sunsets-spontaneous-cider-and-enjoying-life-naturally/

Follow day by day here: https://saignee.wordpress.com/32-days-of-natural-wine-links/

Up next: With Amy, or; Yeah it is kind of scary.

~ by Cory Cartwright on July 12, 2010.

8 Responses to “Day 24.2: Detroit, The Paris of the Midwest”

  1. i wear argyle socks with plaid shorts and grow a ridiculous mustache just to keep calling in fashionable ferndale. brilliant as ever, and thanks for the love.

  2. Where’s the video?

  3. And they told me Iowa City was the Paris of the midwest! Maybe that’s why I’m outta here. Detroit definitely’s got IC on wine selection. Bravo!

  4. Asheville is just the little Paris of the South. I don’t understand allocations. Damon and Centerba just got supply. Don’t hate on us.

  5. Let me get this straight…Detroit lost its allocation because of little ole Asheville? Les probably sells more Puzelat across his bar than most places, (I try to do my part in this regard) but jeez…

  6. he he

    mountains vs. lakes

    say hi to my cousins there, friends

  7. I say Detroit and Asheville should be blood brothers. Your city shows guts(Slows), Intelligence(Western Market), and Artistic Humor(Putnam), and I am proud to stand at your side. Saumur is our sister city (with some Russian city I can’t spell{I’m on the end of a bottle of Clos Roche Banche Rose I just got today!}) So, I offer you a glass of Clos Rougeard any time you are in town. I call you my friend. I think I have met your cousins across the bar tell me their names so I can treat them as royalty.

  8. I love Asheville. I’m coming back soon!

    Also, I thought you might like to know … i put the cooler pictured above, with a half-consumed bottle of KO in it, in the car trunk and forgot about it until today, 11 days later. Some of those 11 days were above 95 degrees F.

    So naturally the wine is completely delicious. There is a slight nuance of raisin and prune, but the song is still clear and strong, maybe more interesting than ever now. Previous expeiences with careless handling and Puzelat’s wines make none of this surprising in the least.

    On the other hand, I AM drinking it from a proper wine glass. That must add at least 6 or 7 points, no?

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