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Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

A wine is representative of a terroir, a region. It is the product of its soil. It can therefore be established that the soil makes the wine. Some areas are more reserved for viticulture, since they offer good living conditions for the plants. However, we can see a new trend in viticulture: the vines are planted in unusual places. They are anchored in a new space to make a new wine. It is the originality of the place of planting that can make the wine produced here original, thus attracting consumers to a new, almost unusual product. Les Grappes invites you to travel through these unusual vineyards!

The conditions necessary for the planting of the vine

A wine-growing terroir has a large influence on the vine and the wine produced. The characteristics of a wine are related to the climate of its production region, as well as to the particular conditions of the year of production of the wine.

The soil must be favourable to the evolution of the vine, and preserve it. Thus the land must have conditions for the conservation of vine plants. The ground must be sunny, to make the fruit better. It must also be protected from strong winds, but must not be confined. The vine prefers drained soils, it is necessary to avoid stagnant water. These are the necessary conditions for the growth of vines, elements to be taken into account in the constitution of a vineyard.

The Clos de Montmartre vineyard

clos montmartre - blog les grappes

On the Montmartre hill, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a vineyard has been flourishing for several centuries. A vineyard therefore exists in the heart of France's capital, at the top of Paris.

The wine tradition in Montmartre is very old: indeed Montmartre inherited the Ile-de-France wine tradition, you could find vines there as early as the 10th century AD!

The history of Clos de Montmartre is a history of the resistance of the vines, but above all of the lovers of the vines and Montmartre, in the face of the real estate invasion when Montmartre became part of Paris. The vines gradually disappeared under the invasive constructions, before dying out following a disease in 1928.

This is where the Republic of Montmartre and the Commune libre come in: these two associations are asking the city of Paris to plant vines to counter a real estate project. The vines then became the means of preserving the site. They were planted in 1933 and the following year, the associations of Montmartre were able to celebrate the harvest of the "Clos Montmartre". This wine therefore has a taste of freedom, authenticity and tradition that can be enjoyed in community.

The "Clos Montmartre" is now the property of the City of Paris, managed by the agents of the Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces of Paris. Each year, approximately 500 litres of wine are supplied by Le Clos.

Since 1934, every year we have celebrated the Clos de Montmartre festival by tasting the wine of the year!

The northernmost vineyard: Telemak in Norway

The northernmost commercial vineyard has been located in Norway at 59 degrees north latitude since 2008. Since 2008, a commercial vineyard has been located in Norway. This is the Lerkekasa estate. It is located in front of a lake, which makes it possible to soften the climate and temperatures.

This vineyard makes it possible to see the evolutions linked to global warming: before it would have been unthinkable to plant vines at such a latitude.

A vineyard at the end of the world: the Red Mountain Estate vineyard in Burma

red mountain estate -blog les grappes

The Red Mountain Estate vineyard is located not far from Nyangshwe, on the shores of Lake Inle, Burma. He has been producing wine regularly since 2002. A vineyard in a country as tropical as Burma can be surprising!

François Raynal took up the challenge, and since 2002 he has been responsible for the production of the Red Mountain Estate vineyard. This Frenchman was already experienced in exotic vineyards, having already worked in vineyards in Chile, Israel, New Zealand... Burma represents a new challenge: the weather.

The valley of Lake Inle, located at an altitude of 1000 m, benefits from a microclimate which cools the tropical temperatures a little. But this is not enough: during the dry season (winter), the vines must be watered by an irrigation system. During the rainy season (summer), moisture can cause plants to rot, so pesticides are used.

Thus the winegrower constantly carries out experiments, in order to determine which grape variety best adapts to the climate and the soil. Syrah, pinot noir, chardonnay and muscat among others were quite conclusive! They reflect the determination of the winegrowers to produce a quality wine in exotic settings. These wines make us travel.

The island and wines: the Lanzarote vineyard

lanzrote -blog les grappes

Lanzarote is an island in the Canary Islands that is distinguished by its geology: it is a volcanic island. It is an unusual place to plant vines, but nevertheless, the island is characterized by its many vineyards. It has 2000 hectares of active vines, which produce an annual average of 2 million litres of wine. The main feature of Lanzarote's vineyards is the landscapes resulting from viticulture.

What makes the Lanzarote landscape so original is that each vine stock is cultivated individually in a hole up to three metres deep and up to 5 metres wide. When the vineyard is exposed to the wind, a semi-circular rock wall is built around the hole. The vines are planted in the ground and then protected with small black lava stones. You have the impression of seeing terraces in the ground, and the effect is striking, the landscape is lunar.

Given the low rainfall in Lazarote, wine production is limited, and sales are mainly for export to neighbouring islands and increasingly to Europe.

The wine of the islands: the Polynesian vineyard

vin Polynésie - blog les grappes

This relatively new vineyard is the result of hard scientific work. In 1997, three hectares of vines were planted on the Rangiora Atoll in French Polynesia. We are fascinated by the winegrower's prowess that allowed the vines to be planted between the coconut trees!

The challenge is largely met since about 30,000 bottles are produced each year at the rate of two harvests per vintage. The Polynesian vineyard mainly produces white wine and a delicious sweetness! We look forward to visiting the vineyard in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

Vines in space

vin de l'espace - blog les grappes

China, which is the 5th largest wine consuming country in the world, is growing in importance in terms of wine production. It is the second largest vineyard in the world. To become the first producer, it must develop the resistance of its vines, and for that, it undertakes to send them into space!

China is trying to increase its wine production by working on the vines. Thus, the Tiangong-2 a space station, put into orbit on 15 September 2016, carried vine plants with it. These are pinot noir, merlot vines... Chinese scientists hope that cultivation in space will trigger genetic mutations in the vines. The idea is to make them more resilient and able to withstand a difficult climate. Researchers rely on radiation exposure in space to trigger these mutations. Thus the cultivation of vines in drier, colder regions would be possible.

Indeed, some Chinese vineyards, such as the Chenhhong Group's property estate, are exposed to very harsh winters. Located in the Ningxia region, famous for its wine, these vineyards sometimes have to face temperatures below -10°C!

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky for Les Grappes

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