A south west of France vineyard becomes an historic monument

south west of France vineyard
South west of France vineyard
An interesting article published in the monthly Midi-Pyrenees Info (nr 50) came recently to my attention.
The article dedicated to the south west of France wine, its diverse appellations and regions and its history, makes a reference also to a little land plot – just over 2000 square meters or 0.5 acres – on which grows the oldest vine in France and maybe in the whole world.
This exceptional vineyard is situated in the little village of Sarragachies in the heart of the Saint Mont wine region of Gers department. It belongs and belonged to Pédebernade family for 8 generations.
The parcel whose around 600 vines are believed to have been planted in the early 1820s – some 190 years ago – and are still producing was declared in 2012 an historic monument by the French government, the first time a farmed plot is listed as such.
The vineyard is remarkable not only by its age but also by the fact that it maintains the ancient grape growing methods like planting the vines in pairs and letting them grow around the same prop and maybe more importantly by the fact that it grows mingled on the same area no fewer than 20 different grape types, 7 of which having been exclusive to this land parcel and totally unknown to the specialists (these new-old unknown grape types were baptized Pédebernade 1, Pédebernade 2, …. Pédebernade 7).
The vine is even more exceptional because of its survival of the phylloxera epidemic that destroyed the south west of France vineyards in the second part of the 19th century – the specialists explaining that is was probably due to its growing on extremely sandy soil.
Despite its individuality there is no “Chateau Pénebernade” but the family plans to open the site to the general public.
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