Chécy, Friends of the vine (Translation in progress)

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The wine of Chécy

he origin of caciens wines goes back to the Roman conquest of Gaul probably following the authorization of vineplanting given by Emperor Probus to the people of Gaul around 282 AC.
The monks were then able to develop and exploit this cultivation for the best. In the Middle Ages, the Orleans wines were widely renowned and by having made of Orléans their capital-city, the Capetians introduced wines of Loire to the table of kings. The excellent reputation of the wines from Chécy makes no doubt,as evidenced by the presence in 1193 at Givroux hamlet of a vineyard househouse belonging to Queen Ingeborg.
Boucher de Molandon - famous local historian - mentions the presence in the 13th century, a royal vineyard on Chécy belonging to St Louis, operated by the officer of his house and whose expenses are recorded in the accounts of the domain.
In 1605, in his "Hercules Guespin or Praise of Orleanois'Wine", Simon du Rouzeau, poet and surgeon of the Queen of Navarre, ranks the productions of Chécy, Combleux, Marigny and St Jean de Braye among the most renowned of our land… this being confirmed - still at the Renaissance - by Magistrate Pyrrhus d'Anglebermes who regarded it as a real nectar.
The secret of this success resides only in the judicious selection of the grapes variety: the Auvernat.
But in 1577, by the "Rule of the 20 leagues" wine growers were encouraged to uproot their vines and replace them by vineplants of more productive varieties… A century and a half later, canon Boullay reckoned that the grapes varieties of most vineyards were not suitable, producing, indeed, wine in abundance, but of inferior quality. In the years of plenty, the unsold surpluses had to be transformed into brandy or vinegar… but the returns were such that 4 acres of vineyards would yield as much as 100 acres planted with wheat !
In the 18th century, two thirds of Checy municipal area were occupied by wineyards: the whole place, with its hours, landscapes, crafts, customs… was living to the rhythm of the Vine.
The appearance of the phylloxera in the 1880's and the arrival of the wines from South of France led to a collapse of the local production out of which. Despite treatments applied and union setting of vinegrowers, it never recovered. The winemakers had to turn over to other activities such as asparagus growing… but that's another story!
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