Vinora hosts first volcanic wine fair in Auvergne

Vinora, an association of winemakers in the Auvergne, has held its first wine fair and symposium on volcanic wines, which it hopes will become a regular event.

The Vinora association was founded by both co-operative and independent growers who make wine in the French region of Auvergne, an historic region that was once widely known and highly regarded but whose reputation and overall vineyard has diminished significantly over the last century.

Planted predominantly with Gamay as well as some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the wines are bottled as either AOC Côtes d’Auvergne or IGP Puy-de-Dome.

Nonetheless, one feature that makes the rather unique among French regions is that its soils are largely volcanic, thanks to the string of ancient (and now extinct) volcanoes, the Chaîne des Puys, that run through the region and a notable topographical feature.

Initially founded in order to promote the region’s wines, the Vinora members also saw an opportunity to band together with other regions and growers from other volcanic regions to create a symposium that cast a spotlight on wines from these very particular soils.

Pierre Desprat, president of Vinora and also director of Saint Verny Vignobles, the largest producer in the region, said: “We were just a few dreamers as we set out on this adventure but, over the months, we have gained the support of an entire region.

“The realisation of all these discussions, which so often went on late into the night, is already a success. It is the recognition of our identity; our land and the volcanic soils that have shaped us.”

In total, more than 30 French and international estates attended the fair. As well as producers from the Auvergne there were French winemakers from other volcanic pockets in Côtes du Forez, Coteaux du Lyonnais, the Ardèche, Brouilly in Beaujolais and Beaulieu in Provence.

From further abroad there were producers such as Domaine Sigalas and Hatzidakis from Santorini, Ayunta, Donnafugata and Planeta from Mount Etna in Sicily, the Azores Wine Company, Disnókö from Tokaj and other producers from Campo de Calatrava in Spain and from Campania, Veneto and Basilicata in Italy.

As well as the tasting, held at Vulcania the volcano museum near Clermont-Ferrand, there was a symposium with several speakers examining various features of volcanic wines and regions.

Volcanologist Patrick Marcel began with a examination of three volcanic islands, Santorini, Lanzarote and Sicily, while John Szabo MS, who recently wrote a book about volcanic wines and regions, delved deeper into what (if anything) sets volcanic wines apart and if there was a “common DNA” to wines from volcanic regions.

After the professional event from Wednesday 29 to Friday 31 January, there was also a public tasting over the weekend.

Desprat continued: “I dearly wish that Vinora becomes more than a professional event, to be also a time of wonder and sharing the many facets of volcanic terroirs.

“We have great plans for this trade fair which should create a network of hundreds of estates and create a value chain, and perhaps even a formal label, around our shared identity.

“We hope that this new wine trade fair, open to everyone, will be a place for networking and discovering and sharing generous wines.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters