You don’t need a state-of-the-art winery to make wine. You don’t need rows of pristine oak barrels. One thing you do need to make good wine is good vines.
Have you ever asked yourself where all these vines come from? How do they find their way into the ground?
It used to be easy. In the past, winemakers simply took cuttings from their vineyards, propagated them, and planted them in the ground.
But phylloxera put a stop to that. What was a simple process acquired layers of complexity: winemakers had to cultivate American rootstocks alongside their vines, and they had to master the art of grafting. Eventually, the production of young vines became a separate craft in itself.
During the 1900s, professional vine nurseries proliferated, many of which were located in the Rhône. Today, the vast majority of wineries still buy their vines from a nursery.
But not all nurseries are created equal. While visiting some of the best winemakers in the Rhône recently, one important name kept cropping up: Lilian Bérillon.