Formerly a wine-growing land before becoming a cider-growing land, Brittany is now seeing the rebirth of its vineyards. Benefiting from many favourable factors, projects of various types are multiplying with enthusiasm and passion.
In spite of a climate reputed to be unsuitable for vines, a vineyard did exist in Brittany from the 4th century (Gallo-Roman period) until the end of the Middle Ages before gradually disappearing between the 18th and 20th centuries. There are many reasons for its disappearance: "inferior quality" of the wines produced, development of maritime trade, parasitic crisis, ice age...but it has left its mark on the region. Indeed, there is ample evidence of its existence, including toponymy.
It is now impossible to ignore it, as this phenomenon is at the heart of the concerns, global warming is on the march. In recent years, climate change has already had an impact on French viticulture and wines. The consequences are negative and positive depending on the vineyards that have to adapt. For Brittany this is more of an opportunity.
Another favourable element is the evolution of regulations. Since 1 January 2016, a new tool for managing wine production potential has been implemented in Europe. Each year, France makes available authorisations for new plantings corresponding to a maximum of 1% of the total national area planted with vines, possible everywhere and free of charge: a windfall effect for Brittany.
This system has therefore enabled producers to start up in Brittany over the last 3 years, but it has also provided an opportunity to regularise the situation of vines planted without authorisation as long as they are intended for experimentation, family consumption and similar purposes. So no more risk of uprooting for the Breton vines!
According to France Agrimer, a total area of 13.8 hectares has been requested in Brittany since 1 January 2008.er All of them were granted on January 1, 2016 through new planting authorizations and they have all been granted.
Brittany is banking on its centuries-old wine-growing past to develop its vineyards today. Numerous projects are being developed, they are supported and encouraged by the town halls with the aim of boosting tourism and enhancing the value of the area.
Finally, the evolution of consumers' tastes towards fresh and light "buddy wines", to be drunk immediately, offers a place for these new wines.
In addition to private vineyards, some pioneers, in the form of associations, have been replanting vines in Brittany for more than 15 years, such as in Saint-Suliac (35) on the northern coast of Brittany. The Mont Garrot vineyard on the banks of the Rance was reconstituted in 2003. She produces a white wine with her chenin and a red wine with her rondo.
Similarly, the members of the Friends of the Vine of the Coteau du Braden in Quimper (29) have been looking after their vines since 2006 and have been making wine since 2009 near the town centre.
The Braden Hill in Quimper (29)
Young professionals have also settled in Brittany, perceiving there a potential and a terroir of character. Thus, within one to two years, the first Breton wines of commercial vocation produced in Treffiagat, Saint Jouan-des-Guérets or Groix will appear on the market.
In terms of typicity, the oceanic climate and the soils of the Armorican massif with the presence of granites and schists promise finesse, freshness and tension for these neo Breton wines like those of the Nantes region.
With a wide variety of grape varieties (chardonnay, pinot blanc, chenin, rondo, gamay, pinot noir...), we can expect wines that are just as varied: a palette of whites, rosés, reds, both still and sparkling.
Chloé QUEFFEULOU for the Clusters