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The vineyards of Isère

a terroir on the rise!

"I just want the word 'Isère' to be written on the map of French vineyards,
and for people to say that we make wine!" says Wilfrid Debroize,
a winemaker at the Domaine des Rutissons with Laurent Fondimare,
and president of the Isère wine syndicate since 2016.


We are talking about a vineyard located in the French Alps, surrounded by mountains - Chartreuse, Vercors, Belledonne, Dévoluy - and offering beautiful landscapes. It once covered 33,000 hectares but had dwindled in size due to wars, phylloxera, and industrialization. The use of hybrid grape varieties had further damaged the reputation of the wines. But that is ancient history! Starting in 2007, thanks to the efforts of Nicolas Gonin and Thomas Finot, passionate winegrowers with a love for ampelography, the story of Isère wines began to be rewritten. "We can thank them for being pioneers and for allowing the IGP Isère to exist through heritage grape varieties", says Wilfrid.

Verdesse, étraire de d'huy, douce noire, persan, joubertin, onchette, and more have been part of the IGP Isère grape varieties since 2011. This is a true regional IGP, not a second-rate one! These distinctive grape varieties are not just a trend or a response to climate change; it's a genuine desire to stand out, to connect with one's roots, and to create a bond with one's own land. Wilfrid fought to create a charter based on identity, mutual support among winemakers, and assistance to newcomers. The department and the chamber of agriculture followed suit.

Today, the vineyard covers 260 hectares, with 65 hectares under IGP designation, 25 domains, and about 30 winemakers, with 50% having settled in recent years. The 3rd Isère Wine Fair held in Montbonnot in the Grésivaudan Valley confirms once again the quality of the wines and the dynamism of the winemakers, including some key players: Thomas Finot, W. Debroize & L. Fondimare, Stéphanie Loup, Jérémy Bricka, Samuel Delus, Antoine Mayoussier, who are often medalists at the Isère Wine Competition. New talents are also emerging, such as Pierre Pelfrène with his magnificent verdesse wines or Pascale Barbe from Domaine Les P'tits Ballons, offering remarkable wines. Whether in Trièves, up to 900 meters in altitude, in the Grésivaudan Valley, or in the Balmes Dauphinoises, the Isère grape varieties thrive wonderfully. This terroir produces authentic, expressive, concentrated, complex, joyful, always digestible wines, with a beautiful freshness in the finish. The pleasure of tasting them is immense. They grace the tables of around twenty Michelin-starred restaurants and are exported to the USA, Japan, and Italy. So yes, the Isère vineyard truly exists. The syndicate has even created its own map! If you're a fan of good taste and rarity, come and taste the rising wines of Isère...

Florence Corbalan