Save the vines

Recommendations, comments or questions about wine matters

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rbg
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Save the vines

Post by rbg » Fri 22 Aug 2008 13:53

What is the future for the wine trade here if this is what is happening?

http://www.lindependant.com/articles/20 ... chage.php5

http://www.lindependant.com/articles/20 ... chage.php5

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polremy
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saving the vines

Post by polremy » Fri 22 Aug 2008 14:12

Well, I'm doing my best to make sure they don't go out of business.
Seriously though, we have been heartened to see fields of new vines planted. At one stage we thought they would all be lost to new building.

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Santiago
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Post by Santiago » Fri 22 Aug 2008 15:53

The really sad thing is that, in general, it is the older, less productive vineyards that are being dug up. These tend to make better wine but for a cooperateur or bulk wine producer that means nothing. What they value are vineyards which yield the maximum permissable.

I'm buying 2 extra hectares of vines this year. All old vines including the oldest Syrah in the commune and two blocks planted in 1955.

I'm also launching a scheme to allow others to invest in old vines, protect the landscape and play the role of "armchair vigneron". If this is something that interest you, have a look at this link...

http://www.domainetreloar.com/Own%20Vine%20Club.htm

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Post by PaddyFrog » Fri 22 Aug 2008 19:30

Santiago wrote:
I'm buying 2 extra hectares of vines this year. All old vines including the oldest Syrah in the commune and two blocks planted in 1955.
Jonathan you must be paying more for the hectacres to him than the EU would have paid him to destroy the excess vines, currently €7,000 per hectare.

When the EU are trying to reduce the Wine lake and most Vinerons are actively culling their vines.
Michael

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Santiago
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Post by Santiago » Fri 22 Aug 2008 21:56

Correct. But I'm not plumbed in to the wine lake.

That's what makes me different 8)

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Sav
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Post by Sav » Fri 22 Aug 2008 22:02

The PO would not be the same without its vineyards :roll:
Well done Santiago :)

Cheers Sav :)

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Santiago
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Post by Santiago » Sun 24 Aug 2008 11:41

The latest news is that applications to dig up 9000 ha of vines in the Languedoc Roussillon were received in the first 9 days of the scheme opening.

http://www.vitisphere.com/breve.php?id_breve=54391

While I don't agree with supporting grape farmers who have no passion for it anymore, the repercussions of such an uncontrolled grubbing up are not too rosy.

Much less cheap wine
Picturesque landscapes reduced to wasteland or lotissements
More people out of work

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Roger O
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Post by Roger O » Sun 24 Aug 2008 12:33

Santiago wrote:Picturesque landscapes reduced to wasteland or lotissements
More people out of work
Santiago, if the global warming lives up to some dire predictions, perhaps replacement by date palms in the arid regions and mangos and papayas in the wetter parts! Apricots and peaches to be relegated to the upper slopes of mountains. Apples will become a luxury as in Equatorial Africa.. (I love mango and papaya .. and litchi too.. oh yes.. and pineapples!!)

Future: Domaine Treloar Premium Sugar Plantation Rhum?

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Post by john » Sun 24 Aug 2008 19:03

Santiago wrote: the repercussions of such an uncontrolled grubbing up are not too rosy.

Much less cheap wine
Picturesque landscapes reduced to wasteland or lotissements
More people out of work
While there are pro's and cons to the grubbing up of any loss making cash crop, the above statements from Santiago are VERY debatable.

There is no evidence that prices will rise if loss making hectareage is lost. Certainly that was not the case with fruit farming in E Anglia.

I personally would rather see thriving industry /quality housing than loads of unkempt unwanted vines.

And because of that surely the new,potentially profitable industry would provide more,not fewer, jobs.

We cannot live in the past,I'm afraid. Nor do we all want to pay 20€ plus for fancy "boutique" wines.

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Santiago
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Post by Santiago » Sun 24 Aug 2008 20:19

Yes, it is a good subject for debate.

I'm interested to hear what other forum members think. So I'm off to enjoy a lovely bottle of "boutique" wine. 8) Sante!

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polremy
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saving the vines

Post by polremy » Sun 24 Aug 2008 20:57

Are you really going to drink a 20euro bottle of wine?
I don't think I could actually enjoy drinking it if I knew it cost that much.

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Post by opas » Sun 24 Aug 2008 22:06

I don`t really know where to start.

If the vigneron hasn`t got his heart in his work, hence his wine, then he is not going to do good trade, thus he gets more despondant. Mostly I think that the owners have inherited their vineyards and realise they could do other things to make their money more easily.
One of those things is the opportunity to sell their land to a developer, the farmer feels rich and can have a nice new house and a wedge in the bank...for a while.

I really do not like the sight of all the lottisments raising up where ever I look, but by the same token as someone else has already mentioned I do not like to see a vineyard unkempt with plastic swinging from the overgrown vines

Its a question of quality, we can go to the local co-op and buy a litre of red VdP for 1 euro 20 cents and it is like battery acid, we can pop over the boarder and buy a litre of Red/white/rose for 90 cents and the quality is outstanding. Ten years ago we strugled to find a drinkable spanish for under the equivalent of 6 euros per bottle.

jon is right, the future of French wine production is in their own hands, it can be done ...........just not at 20 euros a bottle for me :lol:

PS Jons White is not bad :wink: for a new kid on (one ) block :P

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Post by mpprh » Sun 24 Aug 2008 22:39

Image



Interestingly, one of our local domains has kept some very old Carignan grapes. Each foot (plant) only has a single bunch. It sells for €24.95 per bottle and is sold out very quickly. I've tasted it - absolute nectar - but too expensive for me to drink on a daily basis !

Peter
The Languedoc Page
www.the-languedoc-page.com
Image

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Post by john » Mon 25 Aug 2008 09:43

mpprh wrote:Interestingly, one of our local domains has kept some very old Carignan grapes. Each foot (plant) only has a single bunch. It sells for €24.95 per bottle and is sold out very quickly. I've tasted it - absolute nectar - but too expensive for me to drink on a daily basis !

Peter
You are right Peter. "Vielles Vignes" produce some excellent stuff,and you do not need to pay silly "boutique" prices like you quote. Opas is also correct. It's just a question of doing a bit of legwork and finding out where the bargains are. Like her Spanish expeditions, it can be found in the most unlikely places.

For example this very weekend I picked up a superb Vielles Vignes Cotes du Rhone from the Gard, at Leader Price,which cost the princely sum of 2€99.

As Peter says, we cannot all afford to spend 15€ plus on everyday drinking wine.

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Santiago
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Re: saving the vines

Post by Santiago » Mon 25 Aug 2008 10:22

polremy wrote:Are you really going to drink a 20euro bottle of wine?
I don't think I could actually enjoy drinking it if I knew it cost that much.
I said I was going to have a lovely boutique wine, not how much it was going to cost. It was the previous post that implied good wine from boutique, higher quality producers needs to be 20€. I actually had a Seresin Estate Marlborough Chardonnay from 2002. It cost me the equivalent of €15 in NZ. Not an everyday wine but worth it none the less.

Getting back to the topic, many comments reinforce the point that old vineyards are only economic if the wine they produce can be sold at a higher price. That doesn't make them loss-making for a quality producer with clients who appreciate such wines, but they are of no value to a cooperateur, who gets paid on the weight he harvest for his Coop. Wine grapes are not like other fruit crops. Their value is in the end product.

The thing that I don't like about this vine-pull scheme is that there is no plan to protect the landscape or plan for the future of the region's agriculture. Each landowner can dig up the vines he doesn't want and get the handout. There is no government scheme to protect the best vineyards or to ensure the land is going to be used for something more sustainably profitable. Many of those applying for the grant are people who inherited a couple of hectares which they farm on a part-time basis. They have no plans to do anything else with the land except hang on to it in the hope of flogging it at a good price to a developer.

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polremy
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vines

Post by polremy » Mon 25 Aug 2008 12:31

did you really import that wine from New Zealand.
where do you get your coals?

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Re: saving the vines

Post by john » Mon 25 Aug 2008 14:46

Santiago wrote:[. Wine grapes are not like other fruit crops. Their value is in the end product.

The thing that I don't like about this vine-pull scheme is that there is no plan to protect the landscape or plan for the future of the region's agriculture. Each landowner can dig up the vines he doesn't want and get the handout. There is no government scheme to protect the best vineyards or to ensure the land is going to be used for something more sustainably profitable. Many of those applying for the grant are people who inherited a couple of hectares which they farm on a part-time basis. They have no plans to do anything else with the land except hang on to it in the hope of flogging it at a good price to a developer.
I'm afraid it's called "real life", Jonathan. Why do you criticise those who are making the best use (for them) of their personal assets?. Are you really saying that if some Golf Course developer offered you over the odds for your place ,you'd send him away with a flea in his ear??!

I'd have thought that you above all people would welcome this scheme,as it'll presumably,in the end,root out mainly those whose heart is not in it,and produce what is (in your opinion) substandard and "uninteresting "wine.

Also,I'm not sure I follow your point about wine grapes being a "unique" fruit crop. There are loads of fruit farmers for whom the benefit of their crop is in the "value added".

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Post by Roger O » Mon 25 Aug 2008 16:12

john wrote:Also,I'm not sure I follow your point about wine grapes being a "unique" fruit crop. There are loads of fruit farmers for whom the benefit of their crop is in the "value added".
I second that! Apples (certain kinds, of course) can be eaten or used to make nice scrumpy cider which, if it's semi-distilled in the correct way (no details given so don't even ask!!), then you've got something worth drinking.. mmm.
http://www.witheridge-historical-archive.com/apples.htm
John Hooker, the Exeter historian, writing around 1600, refers to the abundance of fruit in Devon and the careful management of orchards and apple gardens. Greater care was also taken in the 17th Century; both with regard to the varieties of apple planted, and to the quality of the cider made, which clearly did not match the quality of the product made in Normandy where they used specially selected fruits. The Foxwhelp, which appeared in the mid 17th Century, soon became popular and was used in the finest ciders.

In Devon to the production of cider seems to have been further increased at this time if the statement of Westcote in his View of Devonshire, written in 1630, can be relied on. He relates that "of late years there had been an enlargement of Devon orchards", particularly for the making of cider which he goes on to describe as being "a drink both pleasant and healthy, much desired of seamen for long southern voyages as more fit to make beverage than beer, and much cheaper and easier to be had than wine."
Oh yes.. and don't forget cherries and "Kirschwasser" and Plums and "Pflüemliwasser" either!! They've all got their experts and their fans both for eating and drinking!!

The Italians in Cadenabbia make beautiful smooth liqueurs from fresh local peaches and apricots as a local speciality!

The Irish can't compete: you have to cook potatoes if you want to eat them instead of using them for poteen!

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Post by john » Mon 25 Aug 2008 16:54

And you've not even mentioned the plum Slivovitz that I once got horribly drunk on in Dubrovnik.........

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Post by Roger O » Mon 25 Aug 2008 19:08

john wrote:And you've not even mentioned the plum Slivovitz that I once got horribly drunk on in Dubrovnik.........
Too far East, mate, sorry!!
OK OK The Chinese even make "wine" out of rice!! So what?
I mean the Aussie's 'd make beer out of goanna saliva if they could find a way to ferment it -
now that's a thought to foster!!
I think this guy's trying to harvest a drop or two!!
Image

Actually, the point of my above post re cider was ... well, try to find 23,000 acres of cider plantation in Devon these days.. the world's moved on - which is not to say upwards!!
Further quote from above link:
The Witheridge Tithe of 1837 shows that there were 109 acres of Orchards in the Parish, and by 1877, Devon had some 23,000 acres of apple orchards spread to almost every part of the county, with most, if not all farms, having at least one orchard. This made Devon the leading county of the time with 22,000 acres in Herefordshire, 21,000 acres in Somerset, then Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Kent, each with less than 90000 acres (read 9,000 acres twitty!!). It was a common practice on farms in the West Country for workers to receive a daily allocation of cider as part of their wages. Varieties of apple developed and used in Devon during the 18th and 19th centuries included Royal Wilding, Meadgate, White-Sour, the Irish Cockagee, Elliot, Sweet Alford and Woodbine.
Er... they even made cider out of Woodbines??? Guess the makers of.. didn't reckon on that one!
Irish Cockagee looks a bit suspicious to me too!!
However, even today, there are still a few "Royal Wildings" about, if you can believe what you read in the Mail (or the Sun, of course!). Personally, I think it's a typo, meant to read Wildthings!!

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Post by Santiago » Mon 25 Aug 2008 19:59

I'm afraid it's called "real life", Jonathan. Why do you criticise those who are making the best use (for them) of their personal assets?. Are you really saying that if some Golf Course developer offered you over the odds for your place ,you'd send him away with a flea in his ear??!

I'd have thought that you above all people would welcome this scheme,as it'll presumably,in the end,root out mainly those whose heart is not in it,and produce what is (in your opinion) substandard and "uninteresting "wine.
The reason wine is different from any other fruit crop is that it is unique in transferring the character of the vineyard into the bottle. You can make Peach Scnapps from any peaches. You cannot make Domaine de la Romanee-Conti from any old grapes.

Fortunately there are enough wine lovers out there who appreciate the quality of wine made from old vineyards (not just those wines labelled "vielles vignes" to fool the uneducated) to warrant saving the these vines. The Roussillon has already lost the international market for everyday wines to the New World.

PS: Polremy. I lived in NZ and imported some wine along with all my other belongings.

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Post by Roger O » Mon 25 Aug 2008 23:30

I wasn't referring to "schnapps" but to delicately prepared liqueurs which taste quite different according to the type (breed, if you like) of fruit used.

This kind of thing exists in most food or beverage preparation - try telling a coffee connoisseur that "any old coffee bean will make a good cup", as opposed to discussing, for example, the merits of one Jamaica Blue plantation crop against another and their preparation.. Similar for true tea connoisseurs! Wine is NOT alone in this at all, in spite of all the "almost religious fervour and hushed tones" surrounding it!! Sorry but this has to be stated!

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Post by john » Tue 26 Aug 2008 08:40

You are absolutely right Roger. And I can think that there'd be a few Poire Williams,Kirsch and Calvados manufacturers who'd dispute Santiago's sweeping generalisation.

It need not be alcohol related either. I know several fruit farmers who sell their crops for processing ,where the type/quaity of fruit (eg apples) is VITAL to the end product.

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Re: saving the vines

Post by PaddyFrog » Tue 26 Aug 2008 13:49

Santiago wrote: The thing that I don't like about this vine-pull scheme is that there is no plan to protect the landscape or plan for the future of the region's agriculture. Each landowner can dig up the vines he doesn't want and get the handout. There is no government scheme to protect the best vineyards or to ensure the land is going to be used for something more sustainably profitable. Many of those applying for the grant are people who inherited a couple of hectares which they farm on a part-time basis. They have no plans to do anything else with the land except hang on to it in the hope of flogging it at a good price to a developer.
Jonathan Agricole land is Agricole land, it is quite a arduous system to get it deemed Habitable.

In todays L' Independant the gross difference in Agricole land within L.R. is out lined as per Hectares.

Lozere 5470 €
Gard 9490 €
Hérault 7800 €
Aude 4920 €

Pic St Loup 45000€ ( AOC Coteaux du Langeudoc)

In second Place the PO, but really they are the top as Pic St Loup is tiny.

PO 13650 €

If they can command that sort of price no wonder Lamborghini are opening a agency in Trouillas.
Michael

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Post by Santiago » Tue 26 Aug 2008 16:51

With all due respect, coffee, fruit liqueurs and even calvados don't rely on the ground, age of the plant and vintage variation in the way that wine does. The variety of fruit used may change the flavour but that is only like saying Chardonnay tastes different from Cabernet Sauvignon.

Michael's figures show that agricultural land prices are also affected by the wine that they are able to produce. The most expensive agricultural land on the planet is Champagne. There is a good reason for that.

What I'm talking about is terroir. I know some people, for whom wine is, as James May put it, "a fruit based beverage that gets you drunk", find this term a bit confusing and therefore dismiss it as nonsense but to those who truly appreciate wine, there is no doubt that it is a major factor. For people who see wine as another grocery item, I can see why the idea of preserving certain vineyards is silly. But it is a opinion derived from ignorance, not from understanding.

Old vines from special soil don't produce better quality fruit, in the way that Roger and John are speaking of other fruits, but they can make wines which have unique flavours and characters and that is what makes them desirable to wine lovers.

Interestingly I've just read that SAFER are patting themselves on the back for saving about 10% of the vineyards to be destroyed by finding buyers for them.

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Post by Roger O » Tue 26 Aug 2008 22:27

Well, Jon (and everyone interested in wine debates who understands French), hope you've been watching FR3 this evening - very educational!!

PS this was posted at 22.27LT and not 21.27 as shown!

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Post by Santiago » Wed 27 Aug 2008 08:12

Missed it. What is the summary?

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Post by john » Wed 27 Aug 2008 09:25

Santiago, I'm more than happy to concede that you know far more than the rest of us re the process of grape growing/wine production. As far as the business/economic sde of things go,I'm not so sure you do.

You mention all sorts of expensive,sought after wines,but,whether you,I ,or anyone else likes it,or not, Roussillon does not produce any wines made from vines of any age ,from whatever "TERROIR" that are discussed in the "hushed tones" that Roger so splendidly refers to.

Maybe you are trying to change that. Maybe you'll be successful. Maybe you won't. But one thing is certain. You won't do it overnight.

In the meantime. I ask you again;what is wrong with people trying to make the best of the assets they have? PF's figures re land prices are very interesting. And if that involves wholesale grubbing up of vines that make a loss,or at best minimal profit,then who are we to criticise them?

Plus ca change.

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Post by Roger O » Wed 27 Aug 2008 10:04

Santiago wrote:Missed it. What is the summary?
Sorry, looking at the TV programme, I realise this was "Mondovino" a documentary film from 2005 on the "World of Wine" by Jonathan Nossiter.

I didn't (couldn't) watch it all myself, but the bits I did see were very interesting and the critic mentions "ne ratez pas sous aucun prétext ces seconds plans d'une terrible éloquence".

Actually the video is apparently on sale in English with French subtitles:
http://www.vodeo.tv/lire/4-32-2049-mondovino.html
If you don't know the film, you can watch a short extract via the above link
john wrote:...approach this with a rigid,inflexible doctrine,and frankly I resent the use of the terms "uninitiated","ignorant" and "uneducated" to describe others.
John, it's my experience that true staunch believers in anything - especially those who donate their lives to "it" (from flat earth to the absolute superiority of the British Empire - or the American/Multinational one - and anything in between or around) are terribly hard to convince (if one is interested for any reason in trying) that "it" is not the central issue in other peoples' lives as, for them, this tends to be (relatively) incomprehensible. Obviously, for the majority of humanity, the paramount "it" tends to be a particular religious or political conviction - but I am talking about 'its' other than those two!

I, myself, have terrible difficulty in understanding how people can approach possible solution(s) to any problem by employing methods other than logical pragmatism (as you may have noticed) even though I do "freak out" of such approach from time to time when strong emotions (or hormones!!??) take over!!

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Post by carol sheridan » Wed 27 Aug 2008 10:39

I heard an interesting article on the BBC about the possible threat to the landscape from the change from corks to plastic or metal bottle tops. Apparently, if the cork plantations disappear the process of desertification could occur in Portugal and parts of France.
So, it is not just 'wine snobbery' to want to keep corks!

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