am madly merry, without however being drunk!... Would this be that I am finally
happy of live...
suis follement gai, sans être pourtant ivre !... Serait-ce que je suis enfin
heureux de vivre...
Émile Nelligan (La romance du vin -1899)
It is said that the Greeks where the first who have developed the culture of the
vine in XIIIe century before J-C. As the Hellenics were great navigators and traders
and that they had seaports in almost all of the Mediterranean coast, it is extremely
possible that they brought with them and planted vines a little everywhere in
Europe while making the trade of the wine and oil.
Then came the Romans who founded many European cities, at the time of their
quest and occupation of the civilized world of the time, and possibly bequeathed
the culture of the vine and the art of making the great elixir. After the dismantlement
of their Empire, during centuries, the Catholic Church, thanks to the religious
communities, will develop the vine growing techniques now known around the world;
the principal goal being the supply of wine to celebrate the Eucharistic.
In 1535, at the time of its second voyage in Nouvelle-France, Jacques Cartier
noted that the vines grew in a wild state on the l'Île d'Orleans and, by
going up the river to Montreal, he noticed that it grew everywhere from Quebec
to the rapids of Lachine.
As the wild grapes were not favourable to the making of wine, the French colonists
took along with them stocks of vines of France, like probably did it my own ancestor
dit Bellemare which came from the great Cognac area. A small wine tradition
was already established at the beginning of the XVIIIe century, mainly to provide
the wine necessary to the Eucharistic... And to supply the taverns of the region!
Very gently, the vine growing progresses in Quebec to fall victim of the promotion
of beer made by the new English Master from 1763 who will consequently support
the establishment of breweries to provide to the needs for beer for the immigrants
from United Kingdom. But the vine growing is maintained just as the making of
the cider until prohibition (1916 to 1927), date on which wine industry is largely
eradicated, both in Quebec and in the United States. Indeed, it is reported that
in 1901 there were approximately 109,000 vines distributed on 94 farms; in 1931
not more than 2,000 vines on 4 farms were still growing... Other determinant factor,
the takeover of the government on the market and sale of alcoholic beverages...
what will also slow down the production of wine and the foundation of commercial
vineyards in Quebec...
The rebirth of vine growing in Canada starts in the Seventies whereas Iniskillin
obtains in 1975 the first licence for a commercial vineyard in Ontario since the
prohibition. In Quebec, it is only in 1977 that the first vineyard with a licence
to sell appears; in 1984, 128,000 vines were cultivated, more than 500,000 stocks
in 2000 for 38 vineyards.
1979- Gilles Rondo and Joseph Vandal create the first association of amateur vineyards.
1987- The Association of vine growers of Quebec is born; L'Association
de vignerons du Québec
1996- The first Québécois wines are put on sale at the Société
des Alcools du Québec.
The future of the vine growing business in Quebec is very promising; it is the
only fruit-bearing production that has increased in the country. The wine consumption
does not cease to increase in the country even if beer is always the alcoholic
beverage holding the greatest parts of market in Canada with nearly 80%!!!
There is much work to do so that the wine industry takes again the place which
it occupied at the beginning of the colony whereas my great grandfather Jean-Baptist
Gélinas dit Bellemare, just as some French colonists and religious communities,
made the wine... of the Nouvelle-France!
we drink only wine and cider at home... a taste inherited from our ancestors.
pour the wine! Pour again and always, That I can forget the sadness of days...'
verse le vin! verse encore et toujours, que je puisse oublier la tristesse des
Émile Nelligan (La romance du vin -1899)