A HISTORY OF COLLABORATIOIN
South Africa, now the largest producer of Chenin Blanc wines in the world, has the privilege to host the 2nd International Chenin Congress from 1 - 3 November 2022 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The birth of the Chenin Congress is based on a lovely story of friendship between the producers of Chenin in South Africa and France and their history of collaboration to preserve and grow this noble varietal.
The South African Chenin Blanc Association was formed in 2000 and ever since there has been cooperation and networking with Loire producers. In 2003 they collaborated to present the Le Rendez-vous du Chenin at Fontevraud Abbey, Loire Valley, France under the auspices of the Union des Oenologues de France. And in September 2016, a research exchange and networking meeting was held at Domaine du Closel in Savennières, France for discussions between the Chenin Blanc Association, the University of Stellenbosch and various French research organisations.
South Africa was represented by Dr Hélène Nieuwoudt a senior researcher, Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Stellenbosch University and Ina Smith, Manager of the Chenin blanc Association at the meeting organised by Evelyne de Pontbriand, proprietor of Domaine du Closel, Savennières. Following this, a meeting took place in Savennières in November 2016, culminating in the creation of the Académie du Chenin, officially supported by The City of Angers. Evelyne de Pontbriand (Domaine du Closel Château des Vaults) was appointed as president of the Académie du Chenin.
In 2017, Evelyne de Pontbriand made a visit to South Africa to meet with executive members of the Chenin Association, and the first International Chenin Congress was held in Angers 1-3 July 2019, where 45 South African researchers and producers attended.
Thus, the Chenin Blanc Association and the University of Stellenbosch contributed to the establishment and execution of first International Chenin Congress.