Quebec winemakers join forces to save Eastern Townships vineyard

·1 min read
Charles-Henri De Coussergues, owner of Vignoble de l'Orpailleur in the Eastern Townships, is one of several winemakers who came to the aid of Martin Girouard's vineyard.  (Fannie Bussières McNicoll/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Charles-Henri De Coussergues, owner of Vignoble de l'Orpailleur in the Eastern Townships, is one of several winemakers who came to the aid of Martin Girouard's vineyard. (Fannie Bussières McNicoll/Radio-Canada - image credit)

When Martin Girouard found himself having to take his son in for surgery last Friday, he thought his 6,000 grapevines were all but lost.

Girouard, a winemaker in Sutton, Que., had to take care of his 14-year-old son, who was undergoing surgery for a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage following a skateboarding accident.

This of course meant that Girouard could not tend to his plants at the vineyard. His entire crop, he figured, would be lost.

But when fellow winemaker Michel Robert, owner of Vignoble Coteau Rougemont, got wind of the situation, he put out a call for help.

More than 20 winemakers from the Eastern Townships and the Montérégie responded immediately.

"The story touched us and there was a sense of urgency because we are late in the pruning season and we can quickly lose a harvest," said Charles-Henri de Coussergues, owner of Vignoble de l'Orpailleur in Dunham.

"I felt there was an urgent need to act. A bit like a volunteer firefighter, I took all my things and said 'OK, let's go,'" added Stéphane Lamarre of Château de cartes winery. "We freed up all our employees and lent a hand."

Winemaker grateful for 'miracle'

It was a gesture of solidarity that Girouard says he will never forget.

"It's incredible. These people don't know me, don't know my family, don't know my son," said Girouard. "But it's truly a miracle for us."

The winemaker expects his products will taste especially good this fall, because of all that went into making them.

"These grapes will be especially full of love this year," said Girouard. "We are really happy for all the help."

Girouard says his son is recovering well so far.