NZ winegrowers fund French abbey upgrade
11 Dec 2008
New Zealand wine growers from the renowned Central Otago region of the South Island are helping restore a 1000-year-old abbey in Burgundy, France.
The grape growers and winemakers from the Central Otago Winegrowers Association (COWA) have donated almost NZ$12,000 to help safeguard an old abbey near Vosne-Romanee in Burgundy - the French region famous for pinot noir.
The money was given to the Association de l'Abbaye de Saint-Vivant which administers the building and is restoring it for public and community events.
The abbey was originally built in 894 or 918 and is an important part of the region's wine-making history.
The building, which once housed an intricate system of cellars, grape press and equipment to produce wine, had been engulfed by overgrown forest until 10 years ago.
Since then the focus has been to clear the ruins and prevent further damage.
COWA president Nick Mills said the donation was given as a gesture of fraternity to the wine region and in gratitude to the Burgundian growers who helped make the Pinot Noir Celebration's formal tasting possible each year.
"It is also in acknowledgement of the observations, techniques and understandings that the Benedictine monks of Saint Vivant have given to the wine industry and ultimately affected how both ancient and modern winegrowers approach pinot noir," he said.
Association de l'Abbaye de Saint-Vivant director Aubert de Villaine said he was delighted and appreciated the donation.
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