Interview with Patrick Böttcher of the “Vini, Birre, Ribelli” Festival

flyer01The “Vini, Birre, Ribelli” festival is fast approaching. Now in its second year, the festival will be housed at the Reception Hall at King Baudouin Stadium on the last weekend of November and showcasing 110 wine and beer producers of a rare variety.

The protagonists are a selection of artisanal beer and wine makers, unique for their approaches to their craft and their dedication to making natural products using traditional and innovative techniques. I emailled Patrick Böttcher, festival co-creator and creator of the blog, to ask him about his passion and what’s in store for us at “Vini, Birre, Ribelli.”


You’ve been writing writing your blog, Vins Libres, for 3 years now. What inspired the blog, what have you learnt and what have you gained from the experience?

The blog let me more and more to the human side of winemaking, an enormous richness in terms of emotional adventure. I really learnt that if you’re speaking about wines, you need to stay modest because to critique a wine is finally to critique a human choice, a human life.


How did the idea for the festival come about?

Every time I went to an organic or a natural wine estate, the producer asked me to come with Cantillon beers to be exchanged with his own wines. I really discovered that artisanal beers are a real passion by all of these producers…. And on the other side it was also clear to me that the owner of Cantillon, Brasserie de la Senne and all of related brewers were attracted by the wines, and mainly by natural wines. So it was being rapidly clear for me that something had to be done to join all these worlds and passion together.




patrick01The festival is called ‘Vini, Birre, Ribelli’. Ribelli means rebels in English. Who are the rebels and in what way are they rebels?

I think that, even if one century ago, all of the beer and wine were produced as the present rebelled ones, today true organic and natural wines, real artisanal beers have the image of rebel because, in order to keep tradition and taste, they are using production methods and they offer tastes which are in real rebellion against the industrial way of modern productivity which is despite the most suggested image of taste, today.


This is the 2nd time the festival has operated. What will be different about this year’s festival?

We will speak more and more about nature respect. The fair is more and more being a message to generations to prevent them about the taste destruction powered by all of industrial practices. That’s the reason why we had a Slow Food Village and also conferences and movie presentation. We will try to show more and more topics of our philosophy : respect of taste and tradition, respect of the difference.


How many people do you expect will come to the festival? Do you have any ‘hot tips’ for the first time visitor?

We expect around 3000 visitors for this second edition. I’ve properly no tips… just try to discover… if you’re a beer geek, just try to also taste wines, if you’re a wine taster, just try to discover some beers… and mainly “speak” with the producers.


Lastly, what is your favorite wine region in the world? Is there any possibility to feature some non-European wines in future years?

My favorite wine region… impossible to answer, after 30 years more I’m going deeply in my passion, borders are falling, exactly in the same way that one day I discovered a greater passion for white than red wines. Even if I’m a fan of Piemont reds and Alsace Whites, today, what’s the most important fact for me is to meet people who really believe in their work, that loves their products as they are without any influence of press or other factors. These peoples are everywhere in the world ! Of course, there are possibilities for non-European wines and beers… we have one out of Argentina at the program.


The Festival will be held at Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels on 28th and 29th of November.

Check the website for tickets and details.


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