Sunday, December 06, 2015

Inside the sleeve

One of our local growers replaced hundreds of old and diseased grape vines out back this fall. The vineyard workers identified the vines that had to go, pulled them up, then planted new vines in their place. The new vines are protected from harsh weather and animals by cylindrical sleeves. The replanting took a few weeks, but it seems to be done now. The workers have already started the annual pruning process, which will continue through the winter.

The red waxy coating, if there was one, is already gone from this newly planted grape vine.

It's encouraging to see growers investing in the vineyards and their wine production. I've seen news reports about how French people are consuming less and less wine these days, and wines from other parts of the world are gaining market share. The demand for more localized, every-day varietals is lessening. Most of the vineyards and wineries around us are small, family-run operations. Many growers belong to cooperatives that pool resources for wine production, bottling, and marketing. Other growers retire and don't have anyone to take over their business, so they sell, or try to sell, or sometimes simply abandon their vineyard parcels.

Still, there are quite a few young growers and vintners out there, and many of them are moving into organic wine production. And established growers, like the one who owns most of the vineyards behind our house, are investing in their operations and marketing. We've seen some of our local labels in cafés and restaurants in Paris. One year while traveling, we even saw an organic wine made just down the road from us for sale in a store in central Illinois. Go figure!


  1. Comment s'appellent les vins bio de votre région?

  2. Fun shot. A view I never see. Great to know small local wineries are finding ways to evolve.

  3. I wonder how far in advance one has to envision what variety of grape to do. I suspect a grape vine needs some time to grow and mature etc. and by then the market may have altered. I don't envy this sort of speculation.

  4. anon, les 2 les plus proches sont Clos Roussely et Clos Roche Blance. Regardez ce lien:

    mitch, does anyone grow grapes around your region?

    michael, things tend to change very slowly in France in this regard. Each wine region has its particular varietals, for many generations, i.e. Bordeaux reds are mostly cab-sauvignon and merlot, Burgundies are pinot noir and chardonnay, Beaujolais are gamay, Champagnes are pinot noir, pinot menuier, and chardonnay, etc. etc. Our region, Touraine, uses many grapes like gamay, cabernet franc, and côt on the red side, and sauvignon blanc and chenin (and some chardonnay) on the white side.

  5. Thank you - it seems France keeps to what was there before rather than in the States or Australia etc where they shift varieatls depending on the market demands.


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