Session II - chenin blanc world history
Irina von Holdt
Henri Galinié worked at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Tours. Professor in archeology at the University François-Rabelais Tours since 1992, he was director of theses for many PhD students in History.He now has the title of honorary research director and devotes himself to the history of the encépagement of Touraine and holds an ampelography blog.
Irina left her previous career as a medical scientist to become a full-time wine writer in 1994. During her studies, however, she had become impressed by the quality of Chenin Blanc wines and, in particular, older Chenin wines. She believed, and still believes, that as South Africa has more Chenin than any other country it should be the flag bearer for SA white wines. As an untrained wine producer in 1995 she set about making a high quality Chenin from old vineyards, at that time a style unknown in SA where inexpensive, high-volume Chenin was the norm. With neither a vineyard nor a cellar, she was the first person in SA to be allowed to make wine by leasing a vineyard and renting a cellar. Irina’s other big concern was for the many venerable old Chenin vineyards, sometimes ungrafted, that were in danger of being uprooted and set about convincing farmers not to do so. Out of respect for these old vines she named her new venture Old Vines Wine Cellars. In 1999 she called a meeting of all winemakers who produced Chenin wines and together they formed the Chenin Blanc Association. She was elected the first Chair.