Vineyard rivals skyscrapers in Paris business district

25th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - Nestled among rows of skyscrapers, a vineyard was inaugurated on Thursday in the heart of Paris' main business district with the aim of producing a wine harvest in three years' time.

PARIS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - Nestled among rows of skyscrapers, a vineyard was inaugurated on Thursday in the heart of Paris' main business district with the aim of producing a wine harvest in three years' time.

Boasting 350 plants of Pinot Noir grapes and 350 plants of Chardonnay, the  vineyard was planted on rich earth trucked in from surrounding farmland to the concrete, high-rise complex of La Defense, on the western rim of Paris.

The "Clos de Chantecoq" -- named after the site where La Defense was built -- covers 1,000 square metres (10,000 square feet) as part of a public project to renovate Europe's largest business district.

Farmed organically, it is hoped to yield its first harvest in 2010, with a production target of 400 bottles.

The public body behind the project, EPAD, said it was intended as a tribute to a vanished local winegrowing tradition.

The area surrounding Paris was once one of France's major wine-producing regions, but rows of grapevines gave way to urbanisation until the late 19th century, when a phylloxera blight devastated the entire French wine industry.

All told, greater Paris numbers some 130 vineyards today, producing 35,000 to 40,000 bottles every year -- a drop in the ocean of French wine production.

The most famous is a 100-year-old vineyard perched along a winding hillside street in Montmartre, below the Sacre Coeur basilica in the north of the capital.

The Montmartre cru, which yields 1,500 bottles every year, is sold at an annual festival for some 35 euros (40 dollars) a pop.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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