Anyone who has studied the wines of Savoie in the French alps or those of Switzerland is keenly aware that the alps, perhaps because of their relatively isolated location, are a valuable storehouse of ancient, characterful and distinctive grape varieties: Mondeuse, Petite Arvine, Humagne, Fumin, Petit Rouge, Completer…. This is why we should all be excited about news of a forthcoming ampelography centre devoted to researching and preserving Alpine grape varieties.
The centre, to be inaugurated in early December, will be in Cevins, alongside Michel Grisard’s Domaine de l’Ardoisière in Savoie. Pierre Galet of Montpellier, the world’s best-known ampelographer, will be donating his research files to the new centre. For the purposes of this new project, the vinous alps extend from eastern Provence to Slovenia via Die east of the Rhône Valley, Switzerland, Valle d’Aosta, Valtellina, Styria and Alto Adige.
The inauguration is 8 Dec in Cevins with Pierre Galet, and a programme of discussions around ampelographical subjects is planned. (Talking of ampelography, watch out for a new book by US-based Greek wine specialist Miles Lambert-Gocs in which he argues that Cabernet Sauvignon’s origins are……..Greek. One of his principal planks of evidence is the similarity of the illustration of Cabernet in my 1986 book Vines, Grapes & Wines and an illustration of the Greek Volitsa variety in another book. Ampelogaphy is the science of identifying vine varieties by appearance. DNA profiling has replaced it to a certain extent. No DNA profiling has yet been applied to Volitsa.)
More information on the new Savoie venture and its inaugural event is available from
Centre d’Ampélographie Alpine Pierre Galet
Tel +33 (0)4 79 38 29 70