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Crushed Grapes: Amateur Parisian Wine Makers Give it a Shot

Aired September 26, 2000 - 1:57 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The wines of France are celebrated around the world. The wines of Paris apparently are not.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Definitely not. That's not discouraging some amateur Parisian wine makers, though, from giving it a shot.

Here is CNN's Paris bureau chief Peter Humi uncorking this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER HUMI, CNN PARIS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It's the time- honored method of giving wine its fine body. Dozens of busy little feet hard at work, while their parents are putting their feet to other uses.

In the east of Paris, they're celebrating this years vintage, not from Sancerre, Bourgogne or St. Julien, but from Paris' very own grapes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You need three people to drink Paris wine: two to hold you down and one to make you drink it.

HUMI: Well, it might not be that bad, but the Paris wine you'll find in Melac's Wine Bar remains firmly corked.

(on camera): And while this wine is unlikely to win any medals, as they say about the Olympics, it's not the winning that's important, it's the taking part.

(voice-over): On his second-floor balcony, a stone's throw from the River Seine, Jean Urbanek (ph) is harvesting. His grapes grow in the shadow of arguably the world's largest scarecrow.

Elsewhere in the capital, photographer Philippe Vermes has just enough space in his small courtyard to have nurtured a small vine: 12 bunches of merlot grapes.

PHILIPPE VERMES, AMATEUR WINE PRODUCER: It is so important to have feeling of the land, the earth, you know, and making grow something. Even in Paris, I mean, it is a challenge for me.

HUMI: Philippe and his wife Nancy celebrate their first harvest by uncorking a bottle, not Chateau Paris, but a fine Sante Millien (ph).

Between them, the 60 or so strictly amateur members of the Paris Wine Growers Associations annually bring the fruits of their labor to Jacques Melac's Wine Bar. Last year's wine is ready for bottling, about 400 bottles all together, which will be distributed among the producers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This wine has the taste of Paris, its soil, its air, its pollution. It is like the Parisians really, a bit rude and a bit sour.

HUMI: Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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