Liquid indigeneity

Wine, science, and colonial politics in Israel/Palestine
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by DANIEL MONTERESCU and ARIEL HANDEL

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Israel/Palestine is a site of bitter struggle over definitions of indigeneity and settlerness. In 2008 the first Palestinian “indigenous wine” was released, introducing a discourse of primordial place‐based authenticity into the wine field. Today, winemakers, scientists, autochthonous grapes, and native wines reconfigure the field of gastronationalism. Palestinian and Israeli wine industries can now claim exclusive historical entitlement in a global era in which terroir, that is, the idiosyncratic place, shapes economic and cultural value. Against the dominance of “international varieties,” this indigenous turn in the wine world mobilizes genetics, enology, and ancient texts to rewrite the longue durée of the Israeli/Palestinian landscape. The appropriation of the indigenous grape illustrates the power of science, craft, and taste to reconfigure the human and nonhuman politics of settler colonialism.

In the northern Judean hills of the West Bank, winemaker Fadi Batarseh points across the Cremisan Valley at the Israeli settlement Har Gilo, about five kilometers south of Jerusalem and two kilometers west of Bethlehem.
In the northern Judean hills of the West Bank, winemaker Fadi Batarseh points across the Cremisan Valley at the Israeli settlement Har Gilo, about five kilometers south of Jerusalem and two kilometers west of Bethlehem. (Daniel Monterescu and Ariel Handel, 2017)