What’s a Vigneron? Wine Term Definition
If you search on Google the definition for the term Vigneron, you will find it defined as “a person who cultivates grapes for winemaking”.
Beyond this simple definition, what is the underlying meaning of this term?
Why certain wine growers insist on calling themselves a vigneron?
First things first the term vigneron comes from French, and derivates from the word vigne which means grape vine. Literally then, a vigneron is a person that is closely linked to the vine.
But what else?
Here are a few facts and concepts surrounding the term vigneron.
#1 – Can only call themselves vignerons wine people who actually make wine from their own grapes.
In fact, in French, and therefore in France, can only call themselves vignerons people who actually make wine from their own grapes.
In the wine industry, there are people who grow grapes but don’t make wine with them, themselves. They ‘only grow grapes but don’t turn them into wine. They sell their grapes production to wineries, and are generally called vine growers, or simply ‘growers‘ in the wine industry jargon.
There are also many wineries or negociants (wine merchants) that produce wine, but don’t grow their own grapes. They purchase grapes from vine growers, or even buy already-fermented wines from various producers for blending and selling under their own label.
As a contrast, you’ve probably understood it now, vignerons not only grow their grapes, but also handle the whole winemaking process to turn them into wine.
If they sell their wine to larger brands, some vignerons may not necessarily have or sell their own label.
#2: Behind the term vigneron, is the underlying pride of all wine growers
Therefore, behind the term vigneron, is generally the underlying pride of growers that take the efforts to grow their grapes (and it’s a lot of work believe me) with the intention of turning them into wine. They are the ones that pride themselves in understanding the whole process, and often in understanding how every operation in the vineyard has consequences in the final wine.
#3: A true vigneron cannot be blind to the concept of terroir
A true vigneron cannot be blind to the concept of terroir, because he lives in the vineyard, and follows the grapes all the way up the transformation process and up to the bottle.
Unlike other actors of the industry, it is not an option for a vigneron to ignore the consequences of his work in the vineyards, because he deals with them himself.
#4: Some additional Information about Vignerons
Obviously, many wine growers can claim the term vigneron.
Many wineries grow their own grapes, as well as buying some from specialized wine growers. More and more, winemakers and wine people in general realize the importance of the work in the vineyard, and its impact on the final wine. The time when winemakers stayed at the doorstep of their wineries waiting for the grapes to be delivered is, most-generally, over.
In France, wine growers that adhere to a cooperative winery call themselves vignerons. You will often find on French wine labels cooperative names such as ‘Cooperative Vigneronne’ or ‘Cooperative des Vignerons de…”.
That is because growers that provide grapes to the cooperative winery actually own shares of the winery. Even if they never physically go to transform the grapes into wine at the winery, they are virtually responsible and owners of the transformation process at the winery.
In French, if the vigneron is female, she will be called vigneronne.
If it’s plurial, it will be vignerons.
#5: What’s a social vigneron then?
A social vigneron is a passionate wine person, that understands how to grow grapes, make wine, but also and more importantly, that understands that his story and his knowledge is valuable to the end consumer.
A social vigneron not only shares his passion through his wine, but also through digital channels, talking about his work and his story on social media.
At Social Vignerons, we invite and help all genuine wine growers to share their story, and interact with the wine community, giving their true selves, beyond their wine bottles.
Find out vignerons that have been social enough to work with us and share their story with our Featured Producers: Wine, Beer & Spirit Maker Profiles
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