Chécy, Friends of the vine (Translation in progress)

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Vine and wine

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istory of the vine is so ancient that it goes back to the origin of mankind… As it's, now, the plant can be found in most countries of the world (including the ones where Islam's prevalent)
At its primitive state, Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris is a climbing vine spiraling up to tens of metres high around trees growing on forest edges. It was there long beforethe coming of man and can still be found in this original form in Europe, notably in the Rhine forest.
Historically, it'd be difficult to date the appearance of the first cultivated vineyards. With wheat, it was probably one of the earliest farming activities. Geographically, the Caucasus appears to be the birthplace of winegrowing, before extending eastwards to China… but, oddly enough, it's from the west side that viticulture started for the conquest of the world.
After the Phoenicians, the Greeks and the Romans contributed to its extensiion over Europe and also to the development of the wine trade throughout the Mediterranean basin. In ancient Egypt, frescoes depicting scenes of harvest and banquets are patent proof that the Egyptians were able to develop their wine, but also to drink it and without much moderation.
In the 6th century.BC, grapes were introduced into Gaul via the port of Marseilles, then a Greek colony, before progressing gradually throughout the country in the wake of the Roman invaders. From the 3th century, vineyards had already been widely implanted in the regions they occupy today.
Some new grapes varieties appeared in the 1st century AD. Among them, the Allobrogica able to resist the cold winters of Dauphiny or the Biturica in the Bordeaux region, adapted to rainy climates so that eventually, each region ended up with its particular varieties.
In the Middle-Ages, monks took over from the Romans, setting up monasteries on sites suitable for winegrowing necessary for liturgical requirements or duty of hospitality. They choosed to develop a wineyard of quality by way of discarding progressively the less delectable varieties (Ex: decree of 1395 banning cultivation of Gamay grapes in Burgundy in favour of Pinot Noir…)
Following the phylloxera crisis, in 1885 a cure was found by grafting French vines onto American rootstock naturally resistant to the insect. Starting the reconstitution of the vineyard was then possible, the results being the vine-stocks of today.
With the new advances in oenology of the 20th century it became possible to express rom soils and territories the best of their typical features and, by following the general movement - to bring a steady improvement in quality often at the expense of quantity… Who will complain?
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