La Romance du Vin on TV
drink to you especially, men with sullen brow Who look down on my life and push
back my hand!
Je bois à vous surtout, hommes aux fronts moroses qui dédaignez
ma vie et repoussez ma main !
Émile Nelligan (La romance du vin -1899)
In May 1999, Rosy and
Alain Bellemare transplant 6,000 vines which they trailed along for years from
one site to another before being established definitively in the Bas de la Riviere
in Rigaud; White Seyval, Foch, De Chaugnac...
After one extremely rigorous winter, the majority of the seedlings died or are
under artificial respirator. The stocks not being ridged and being so to speak
without protection vis-à-vis the winter bite, combined with the many transplantations
of the previous years, plus the bad preparation of the ground, made the vines
weakened and vulnerable.
That's no problem, the
following year we plant 3,000 Baco Noir , followed-up by 2,000 Geisenheim in 2001.
In 2002, we buy 1,000
Ste-Croix, 1,000 Delisle and 1,000 Prairie Star, those types of vines known as
resistant to our cold winters.
First grape harvest
in 2003, but the birds puff out half of the grapes. We have some all the same
to make a few tens of litres of each type of vines; the Baco Noir must is very
acid for a red, the Geisenheim is not too bad... the Prairie Star, which was supposed
to resist the winter frost are almost all died; they apparently did not resist
the dry summer, with the little root system which they had at the time of their
ground setting... It looked just like at the cemetery!
painted by Hélène
The year 2004 is difficult
for us because the CPTAQ does not give us the authorization to live on our agricultural
land; ' live at the village ', tells us the commissary!
In spring of the same year we plant 1,000 Chardonnay, 500 Pinot Noirs and 500
Sauvignon Blanc; vitis vinifera vines which will require a ridging like winter
protection and the care as ' for the infants' warns us the salesperson of Mori
Vines in Ontario; to make good wine, you need good grapes! And the type of vines
which resist well without protection for the winter do not give very good results
here when we try to make wine with those grapes. We thus tears off a another thousand
of vines ' resistant to the winter cold ' to replace them by noble vines from
grape harvest gives poor yield, the birds which still puff out in spite of the
scarecrows, the recordings of birds in distress and the blows of rifles or horn...
It is very discouraging; that gives sometimes the perfect excuse to giving up...
It's not easy to live the life of a farmer/producing farmer/ ovine raiser/ vine
grower/ wine specialist...
2005 We ask for the
assistance of the deputy of our county. We explain our situation to her and ask
her whether she can come to our assistance. Yes! Yes! Mr. Bellemare, she said.
' Contact me at my office in 3 month after the end of parliamentary session and
I will see what I can do to help you '... was her answer. My wife Rosy is very
happy of the news and says to me, ' You see, I was right to send you to see her,
these deputies must be of some use to the people!'...
make another demand in 2005 at the CPTAQ. I contact the deputy; its press attaché
tells me on a worried tone that an appointed member of parliament cannot intervene
in our favour, that it would be political interference, that the commissaries
are independent like judges, and all the rest...
ask for the assistance of my delegate of the UPA in my area. After all, he must
be doing something for farmers just like me. I ask for a letter of support from
him. He says to me that he will try to help me. Two weeks later, he refers me
to the head office of the Union which answers me, after having examined ' my dossier',
that they recommend no farmer if he does not declare at least $10,000 of agricultural
income. Since we are just a start up farm, that it is necessary to give time before
the vines start to produce enough, we will have only five or six thousand dollars
of agricultural incomes (from the sale of lambs), at the end of the year. They
let me know politely that they will not support our request... I wonder suddenly
why I subscribe to more than $300 annually with the Agricultural Union of Producers...
But no worries, ' If you do not know why... Them, they sure know... '
this time in Vaudreuil, we see thousand of houses being raised on grounds formerly
agricultural! These farmers surely use a manure containing droppings of she-goat!
in spring, an analyst comes to note the progression of our wine project, combined
with our small ovine herd, and makes a favourable recommendation to the commissary...
A request, which will be finally accepted in the summer...
You see now what a deputy is used for!' ... said my wife while laughing.
we have many weeds to tear off, I fell like inviting her to come and see us in
Spring 2006, we will
be finishing our wine storehouses and will be planting 2,000 Riesling, 500 Cabernet
Franc and 500 Pinot Blanc... We have made our request for an artisan winemaker
licence and will be ready to sell our wine at the end of the summer... It's not
easy to live the life of a farmer/producing farmer/ ovine raiser/ vine grower/
Where to find our wines:
La Maison des Vins au Marché des Saveurs,
Jean-Talon Market, in Montreal.
Thursday: Hudson Farmers Market.
Friday: Marché Champêtre de Rigaud.
Saturday: Finnegan's Market, à Hudson.
Sunday: Marché Duluth, Plateau-Mont-Royal.