René Renou, Président of INAO who had such plans for radical reform of France's appellation contrôlée system died during last Sunday night while in Korea attending an official conference. He had been seriously ill with cancer for some time but when I saw him in the Rhone Valley last March seemed bursting with life and agitating to see his changes become fact.
I had met him only briefly before during the 1970s when he was a far from famous Bonnezeaux vigneron but he could not have been warmer and we had been corresponding by email since March.
Not one to flinch from controversy, he thought the unthinkable and said the unspoken during his tenure as president which began in 2000 and continued with a brief respite last year while he was undergoing medical treatment.
As recently as the beginning of this month he had urged the rewriting of the French wine laws at the last national committee meeting of the INAO. He was a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur and Commandeur dans l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole.
It is to be hoped that he will be succeeded by someone equally brave and tenacious.