When we visited the very rocky Châteauneuf-du-Pape, we stopped by the Brotte Wine Museum. It was started in 1972 and updated in 2000. It centers on the history of wine growing and AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée which guarantees the wines‘ origins).
The AOC designation is very important to them. It makes their wines more recognizable and promotable (and more expensive) abroad. For educated consumers, it makes it easier to understand what they are getting. It also means that producers have tons of rules. The museum had just about everything used it to work the vines or in wine making, except the AOC rule book. I want to get my hands on a copy because I hear that they have some pretty stringent rules. For example, the lengths of the vines are measured repeatedly during the year to ensure they don’t exceed particular lengths at different points in the year. Some are easier to follow. You aren’t allowed to land a flying saucer in your field…um, okay. I think I could manage that one.
People always note that they have a 4,000 litre chestnut wine barrel from the 14th century and a 16th century wine-press. We liked some of the more us usual items, like a chain maille glove for removing insects.
We also snuck a peek through the window at their bottling operation. It looks remarkably like a brewery’s bottling operation.
While the museum isn’t as much fun as a wine tour with Jean-Michel, it is free, informative (if you read the English pamphlets) and the old implements are pretty cool. At the end, you are invited to taste Maison Brotte’s wines. I think our visitors (Magglio, the Luger and Sneaky Pete) had fun and came away a bit wiser.
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rocked Us…Literally (schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com)