Get to Know the Vignerons Indépendants
Travel plans to France anytime soon? Take a look at the Vignerons Indépendants. Pack this info away, maybe you can work a Salon into your schedule!
The Vignerons Indépendants
The Vignerons Indépendants are a trade group of small French winegrowers who banded together for mutual benefit and to encourage maintaining their independence. As a consumer, why would you care? Here are a few of their main requirements for membership:
- Respect their terroir
- Work and harvest their own vineyard
- Make the wine themselves
- Bottle their wine themselves
- Keep viticultural traditions
I don’t know about you, but I like to spend my dollars (or Euros) on wines made by individuals, not big corporations. Now, how about finding 500+ of them in one room!
If you’re lucky, you may find yourself in France during one of their Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. They schedule several annual multi-day wine shows at various cities in France. The shows run in the winegrower’s off-season, if there is such a thing, between November and March.
I had the opportunity to visit the Salon in Lyon during our visit at the end of October. The Salon took place in the huge La Halle Tony Garnier, a very large, historic building constructed as a slaughterhouse and cattle market. Today, it serves as a concert venue & trade show location. So what’s the big deal about a Salon?
- 500+ Independent Vignerons
- 5 days (if you want)
- Pay 6 € for your tasting glass at the entry gate each day
- Meet the individual winegrowers, talk with them, taste their wines
- If you like their wines, buy 1 bottle to 20 cases!
You can spend the day tasting with no expectation to purchase. Obviously, easier to be a purchaser if you are local. (click on any photo to see slide show)
Visiting from the States?
As a visitor from the states, there was no expectation I would be buying. However, once you see the prices compared to what we pay at home, you’ll be trying to figure out how many bottles you can fit in your suitcase. Here are some of the prices (750 ml bottle) I paid for my souvenirs:
- Cote Rotie – 34 €
- 1er Cru Chablis “Fourchaume” – 21 €
- 2008 vintage Grower Champagne – 23 €
- Bordeaux from the Cote de Blaye – 15 €
Getting the Wine Home
Luckily, we have a solution for that! When we travel to France or Italy, I try to plan for bringing some wine home. With friends in Italy, we have a way to get wines shipped internationally for around 150 € per case. Without any connections in France, the best I could find was 225 € per case through Mailboxes Etc.. Nice for souvenirs, but that eliminates any savings. With preparation, you can bring back a case of wine with you as checked luggage on the airplane. Stay tuned for my next post on wine luggage solutions that won’t get you ejected from your family!