A vineyard in South West France has become the first living thing to achieve the high recognition of “national historic monument” and has been officially recognised as a protected historic landmark by the French government run Regional and Heritage Sites Commission of the Midi-Pyrénées (CRPS).
This small parcel of land, just half an acre across in the village of Sarragachies in the Gers region has been the site of vines for 200 years and remained in the same family for eight generations – the Pedebenades. The first plants are said to have been planted in 1822 (the year Boston became a city, 15 years before Queen Victoria ascended the British throne). Each generation of owners have passionately protected the vineyard and continued to utilise traditional viticultural methods such as double vine-stock planting where two vine-stocks are planted together in a square layout rather than traditional rows. Time consuming and high maintenance methods such as this have been eased out over the years and it is uncommon to still see it practiced.
The little vineyard has twenty different types of grape growing in its fertile soil and the family do not produce their own wine – instead it is all sold to a local co-operative – the Plaimont Producteurs who campaigned for the award on behalf of the Pedebenade vineyard. Here it is mixed with fruit from other vineyards to be made into red and rosé wines. However in recognition of the longevity of the vineyard and the vines, the consistency of the grape and the exceptional heritage, officials at the Regional and Heritage Sites Commission decided to grant this coveted accolade.