Vinalies Nationales is a wine competition that has a history of more than thirty years. Each year it gathers more than six hundred wine samples from the Rhone Valley, Provence and Corsica in competition. The jury is entirely made up of oenologists. Eve Iribarne, the President of the region, remarks that the selected wines this year are remarkable for “their high aromatic expression and their perfect balance.”
The Vinalies Nationales Contest
The selection follows the most respected tradition of the Vinalies. The wines registered for the contest are first pre-selected through regional procedures. They are then sent to the national contest, which takes place each year during the Congrès des oenologues de France. The jury, which is entirely made up of oenologists, attributes the following prizes: Grand Prix d’Excellence, Prix d’Excellence and Prix des Vinalies. For the winners, these awards symbolise a strong identity and quality.
The awards represent also a solid partnership between the two professions and the wine. A wine-grower and an oenologist work in team throughout the wine production, a cooperation which persists and consolidates during the competition. The wine-growers are indeed supported by the oenologists to enter the contest.
From Vine to Taste Buds
The etymology of the word oenologist means “the one who possesses the science of wine”. An oenologist and a wine-grower work in team from the moment of grape harvest. The oenologist advises and supports the wine-grower in order to produce quality wines. It is a real guiding work that aims to produce the best, and at the same time different and attractive products. From vineyards to consumers’ taste buds, oenologists take part in every step of wine production. They are qualified experts; their techniques and scientific knowledge allow them to take up a great responsibility in the production of grape juice, wines and related products.
Duties of an Oenologist
It is a little-known profession. An oenologist occupies a very important role in the production of good wines. First, he has to apply sensibly the theories that he has learnt, draw from scientific or technical experiences and proceed eventually to technological research. He participates in the design of technological equipment and the necessary equipment for the wineries. He is involved in the setting-up and the cultivation of vineyards. Therefore, he takes up big responsibilities in the production of grace juice, wines and related products, and ensures their proper preservation. What’s more? He carries out product analyses (physical, chemical, microbiological and organoleptic) and interprets the results. But the birth of the best wine does not mark the end of his duty. The oenologist must be able to assess the connection between economy, wine legislation and technology. His work may even include product distribution logistics.
To be an oenologist in France, one has to first take a two-year course, then apply for a license, and finally obtain a certificate in oenology issued by one the six training centres in France.
The 2014 Vinalies Nationales organized by the French oenologists does not, as always, disappoint us. The selected wines include red, white and rosé, which satisfy a wide range of preferences and which are characterized by their “high aromatic expression”.