Chenin blanc is the Loireemblematic grape. It has a cahotic history. There was a failure to find a proper business model that led to a disenchantment of the profession for this grape from the 1950s: uprooting, abandoning hillsides, declining quality and notoriety, the wines of Anjou have changed color.
A first reaction: the Rendezvous du Chenin in Fontevraud organized by Christian Asselin, (Union of Oenologists of France and Interloire). Very few visible and institutional consequences, but this event undoubtedly revived the interest for the Pineau de la Loire.
This renewed interest, the qualitative evolution in Anjou (savennières, coteau du layon, grand cru quarts de chaume,anjou blanc, etc…)and abroad (Usa, South Africa) lead to the initiative of theAugust 28th, 2015Journée d’études at the Musée de la vigne et du vin with the support of the Federation Viticole d’ Anjou and Interloire.
This day initiated the idea of studying further the problematic of Chenin's economic model and its place in the heritage, imagination and culture of vine and wine in Anjou.
It has aroused great interest and a demand to continue and develop thoughts by giving it an economic and cultural dimension, beyond the sole professional environment of the Loire.
Various meetings with PascalineLepeltier, sommelier in New York, American winemakers, and the South Africa’s Chenin Blanc Association, made it possible to discuss the need to promote this grape variety, in particular via « Chenin, chenins, chenin blanc » in New York (like the Riesling event), or #Drinkchenin and #Cheninday.)
The Terres à Vins, Terres à Livres Festival chaired by the AcademicianDanièleSallenave, born in Savennières, has offered every year for 7 years, a cultural day on wine that took a specific orientation on Chenin in 2015.
During the year 2016, various officials of the City of Angers with the agreement of the Mayor Christophe Béchu, have repeatedly demonstrated their desire to get closer to the vineyards, to, savennières, quarts de chaumeAOC and chenin in general in the framework of the promotion of the territory.
In September 2016, a researcher exchange and networking meeting was held in Savennières between the University of Stellenbosh and the various Anjou research organizations as well as the Montreuil Bellay cheninblanc’sConservatory.
A meeting was held in Savennières between the Angers Town Hall and DanièleSallenave in November 2016 which laid the foundation ofAcadémie du Chenin.
The city of Angers brought on July 17, 2017 its support to the Académie du Chenin and the congress of 2019. Christophe Béchuis Honorary President of the Academy.
The brand Academie du Chenin was registered at INPI on March 6, 2017.
An association Law 1901 with statutes was created to carry it.
This dynamic fits into a context of revival of the interest of Loire winemakers for Chenin, stimulated by winemakers from South Africa and the United States and in a development of interest mainly from wine lovers for this rare variety, that can reflect terroirs and produce great wines.
The national and international press carries this movement.
Great articles in the RVF, Decanter, Le Point, etc…have shone a spotlight on our Loire grape variety.
The taking into account of wine identity in the promotionof territories thanks to differents events like Food’Angers for example.