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Drinking the divine: fine wine, religion, and the socio-political in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Fine wine – together with its producers and consumers – form a nexus that is frequently accorded divine provenance and sacred status along a continuum from the implicit to the explicit. This is evident at three moments of New Zealand history – in the explicit Christian ethos of nineteenth century European colonization; in the implicit sacredness and increasing dominance of romantic nationalism assigned to native flora and fauna (and to a lesser, more ambiguous, extent also to indigenous peoples) in the early twentieth century onward; and in the late twentieth century turn toward the cults of neo-liberalism and reflexive individualism. In all these instances the production, consumption and promotion of divine and/or fine wines are collusive modalities in the elite praxis – latent, overt and hegemonic – of prominent socio-political agents and institutions.
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Keywords: Fine wine; New Zealand; colonisation; implicit/explicit religion; neo-liberalism; romantic nationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sociology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Publication date: October 2, 2019

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