Harvesting to the rhythm of the bells is commonplace for the clergymen on the Abbey of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux, within the south of France.
In this drought-stricken yr, the harvest is predicted to be of top of the range, which is greater than sufficient explanation why for those clergymen to present thank you. The harvest is finished in a cassock in plots which can be a few of the remaining in France to nonetheless belong to an abbey.
These clergymen spend their days pruning olive timber, cleansing the vines and making bread. Every day is marked by means of 8 periods of collective prayer.
Monastic communities had been at the beginning shaped as a method to split clergymen and nuns from the remainder of society. This neighborhood had been self-sufficient and the spiritual had been tasked with creating the rugged terrain.
Investing in viticulture no longer simplest supplied jobs for the larger neighborhood but in addition served as a method to domesticate land that many thought to be too tough to farm. All the grapes grown on those hills were hand-picked for hundreds of years.
“In the past, we organised the harvest in advance, so we knew it would be this day or this other day,” stated one monk. “But for six or seven years, we have favoured the quality of the wine, so we harvest when it’s time.”
None of the clergymen would divulge their identification.
In fresh years the clergymen teamed with winegrowers within the Ventoux area and feature deserted previous customs related to the calendar to create “Via Caritatis” wines.
“We realised that we really had the soil to make great wines and that all we needed was a little more precision in the way of managing the vineyard, said another monk. “So we realised that there have been a couple of small issues to mend to get nice wines.”
“We introduced “Via Caritatis” with this in thoughts: to make wines, with our winegrowers, which makes it imaginable to remunerate everybody’s paintings in a really dignified manner,” he added.
A steadily growing initiative
Credited as one of the best monastery wines in the world, monks in this region have been making wine for over 1600 years.
The late winemaker Philip Cambie partnered with the monks on the “Via Caritatis” project. However, these sloping plots located between 350-600 metres above sea level incur significant production costs. But better grapes mean higher prices, which filter into higher wages for seasonal workers in the long run, and contribute to a more robust economy.
“It (the Via Caritatis mission) permits us to regenerate numerous plots that are on our hillsides, which historically, should not have top manufacturing capacities,” says winemaker Florian Bernard.
“However it’s excellent for grape sorts which make top quality juice. This permits us to make top quality wine.”
The initiative is steadily growing. ‘Via Caritatis”‘ produces 200,000 bottles of wine a yr that are priced between €10 – €40 relying at the antique. And this yr they have got added ten extra hectares of vineyards.
“We had to convince the winegrowers of a small cooperative cellar accustomed to selling their wine in bulk that we were capable of making top-of-the-range products, by teaming up with monks who have a very different pace of life,” defined the father-abbot of Barroux, awesome of this neighborhood of about fifty spiritual,
Encouraged by means of the winery supervisor of a well-known property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, he’s satisfied that this harsh and mountainous territory may give “a lot of freshness, very fine wines” if the control of the vine and the vinification are stepped forward.