Vignes en Ville : Angers' City Vineyard Project
A Hidden Vineyard in the heart of Angers, Maine-et-Loire
The association Vignes en Ville - Vineyards in Towns - has brought life to a vineyard in the Saint-Nicolas area of the city of Angers allowing city-dwellers to get back to agriculture.
In this little corner of Angers, beyond a green gate on the narrow Rue Ambroise-Pare, is set a hectare of Chenin Blanc vines. Gentle terraces slope down towards the lake of Saint-Nicolas and birdsong mingles with the noise of traffic.
"This is a good place to renew contact between the city and agriculture”, explains Sébastien Couvreur, president of Vignes en Ville. Created in December, the association leases the land free of charge and offers its hundred members the chance to come and work the vineyard and monitor the whole process of winemaking. The aim, ultimately, is to produce a fully organic dry white sparkling wine evocatively name Coeur d'Angers - the Heart of Angers.
Every weekend, under the supervision of those experienced in viticulture a dozen volunteers learn to prune the vines. The idea is for volunteers to become green-fingered in a leisurely way. “There is less emphasis on hard graft and greater emphasis on rehabilitating nature”, explained Sébastien Couvreur with secateurs in hand. Students, pensioners and families, work in a friendly atmosphere even in the pouring rain.
Children also have a job – the ancient art of making bundles of pruned vines (faggots). After a few hours looking after the vines comes the obligatory aperitif or a wine tasting, but always with a view to learning more about wine and viticulture.
Once pruning is completed, the association will move on to monitoring bloom and fruit on the vines. After that comes harvesting and finally bottling, a moment everyone looks forward to. The wine produced will probably be limited to those engaged in the project as, initially at least, production is not expected to exceed 30 hectolitres.
Amongst the pests Vignes en Ville in Angers has to contend with are peacocks from the neighbouring animal park at Saint-Nicolas. The old stone walls which surround the vineyard have fallen into disrepair and the peacocks sneak in and eat the grapes. Repairs will be carried out to secure the vines against these colourful raiders. Work is also needed to repair the winepress and install winemaking equipment complying with modern hygiene standards. A draught horse will be used to plough the land currently full of pesticides and the resultant horse manure will contribute towards the aim of producing a fully organic wine.
Vignes en Ville in Angers is full of ideas for the future and wants to become a showcase of agriculture in Angers. The association plans to make available field trips to the vineyard for schoolchildren and to involve the Association de Vignerons Bio Angevins - the local organic wine producers’ association – to give lectures and guidance on specific topics of winemaking and viticulture. Vignes en Ville also plans to open its doors to the public during Heritage Day (La Journée du Patrimoine).
Vignes en Ville Angers can be contacted at:
1, cour des Cordeliers,
Article publié sur le site Guide2Loire
Tags : angers city vineyard project
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