Across the Valley we have a multitude of vineyards that produce delicious and unique wines. The people at Vignoble Cortellino in Saint-Urbain Premier are passionate about producing and promoting high-quality Quebec wines and have recently been celebrated for a wine of their own.
Sophie Cortellino started the business in 2009 with her father, Joseph. The family had owned the land for many years but had always rented it out to other farmers. The first year the vineyard opened, only a small section of the land (one hectare) was used. In the first few years of operation, Cortellino says they had “a lot of family and friends who came to help us out.” They have since expanded to three hectares and are planning on planting more vines each year until they reach their goal of six hectares.
The vineyard is definitely a family affair. Though it was started by Cortellino and her father, she explains that her mother and partner are both heavily involved in the process as well.
Expansion was difficult to achieve this year because of difficult weather conditions. Due to the harsh frost in the Valley this spring, Vignoble Cortellino lost a significant portion of its grapes. “We lost about 30 per cent of what we had,” explains Cortellino. “However, we had a new section that still produced a little this year.” The new section, in an expansion area, covered most of the loss so that they will still be able to meet their average production. What’s especially disappointing this year, though, is that the grapes that did make it were exceptionally beautiful; it is a shame there weren’t more.
Recently, the vineyard was recognized for one of its wines by magazine and website PROTÉGEZ-VOUS. No one from the vineyard had submitted entries to any sort of contest, so finding out was a bit of a surprise: “We didn’t even know; it was a client that told me that we were in PROTEGEZ-VOUS.” The website placed the vineyard’s Piccolo-Grigio as first place winner for white wines in the month of August. “With the reputation that PROTEGEZ-VOUS has, it was really great to be recognized by them and to broaden our audience.”
Vignoble Cortellino is always a proponent of supporting Quebec wines. They want people to feel pride in buying a wine from our region, just like we feel pride in buying our meats and produce here. “There was an era where we’d have a beautiful meal and we’d be proud of having fresh products from Quebec, but we’d buy a bottle of wine that was from Europe.” Cortellino explains that their focus is on creating wines that people can use as their go-to: “We want to make wine that people can always have at their house.” She says she wants “people to always go for Quebecois wine, not just for an occasion, but whenever.”
As part of their commitment, the vintners are active participants in the #jedegusteunvinquebecois initiative. Cortellino explains that “Each year on September 12 we try to promote and encourage people to either try a Quebec wine for the first time or to discover a new vineyard.” Le Conseil des vins du Québec (CVQ) is behind this initiative, and Cortellino is excited to be involved because Quebec has “tons of amazing treasures to discover.”
A successful vineyard is beneficial to the community in more ways than one. Not only does the support of local winemaking help such businesses thrive, it also helps to drive the local economy. “It’s the economy and it’s jobs! Lots of jobs are related to vineyards and wine and agriculture. It creates jobs both directly and indirectly,” says Cortellino.
Vignoble Cortellino products can be found at some SAQs and specialty stores around the Valley, as well as being available for purchase on the website. Cortellino says, “The best way is to come buy the wine at the vineyard and at the same time you can do a tasting and meet us.”