What are these red stems planted by the thousands in Normandy?

By

Christopher Lebranchu

Published on

May 26, 2024 at 6:26 p.m.

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On the hillsides of Montchauvetin Souleuvre en Bocage, in the Calvadosof funny stems covered in red wax emerge from the earth. Those are vines.

They have been planted on Monday May 13, 2024 on former meadows, which had not been cultivated for many decades. Today, it is therefore a vineyard which will come out of the ground. A first in the Virois bocage.

The proof that the wine is making a comeback everywhere in Normandy.

From engineer to winemaker

This project is the initiative of Julien Touret, on the land of his mother Valérie, farmer and owner of the Ferme des Chèvres dans le Vent. On site, she raises goats and sells her cheeses. All in a reasonable environmental climate, thanks to wind power and a wood-fired boiler.

The wax covers the stem to protect the graft. ©Christopher LEBRANCHU

A new activity is therefore added. One hectare is now dedicated to a vineyard. 5000 vines were planted on a plot facing North-South, “as much sun as possible”.

In a region more accustomed to orchards, the vine is making a strong comeback. “There are now around fifty winegrowers in Normandy,” says Julien Touret, the newcomer.

A business engineer in industry, he completely reconverted three years ago by starting a BTS viticulture and oenology in the Bordeaux region. And it is in a big name in Medoc, Château Ducru Beaucaillou, that he cut his teeth.

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I came back this summer with the idea of ​​getting started here, on my mother’s farm. I always told myself that I would come back, but with something new, rich, complex, something out of the ordinary with the aim of taking up a challenge.

Julien Touret.

And what a challenge.

Julien Touret has just planted 5,000 vines, on soil made of shale, draining and dry. “A terroir that lends itself well to wine growing,” according to him. ©Christopher LEBRANCHU

Wine has deserted the countryside for hundreds of years. But the global warming made of Normandy a land conducive to a return. The weather – and especially the humidity – will also be in Julien Touret’s sights. Just like the management of diseases such as mildew Or powdery mildew. But nothing to scare the young entrepreneur.

vineyard turns
A company from Nîmes, specializing in planting vines, intervened. ©Christopher LEBRANCHU
vineyard turns
Each row is spaced 2 meters apart. Then a vine is planted every meter. ©Christopher LEBRANCHU

White wine in 5 years

On this hectare of land, Chenin Blanc was planted. It will take three years for the plant to develop properly, “three pivotal years”for Julien Touret.

After two years, there are grapes, but we cannot produce them before three years, it is forbidden.

Julien Touret

This is truly the 5th year that the “Quality is optimum and yields are good. In theory “.

Ultimately, another 4 hectares will be dedicated to the vineyard. Of chardonnayof Pinot Noir and, perhaps, gamay, will be cultivated in turn. “We have three years to plant 80% of the requested surface area,” specifies the winegrower. Enough to keep you busy for the next few years. An appointment has already been made in 4 or 5 years for the first tasting.

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