When The Vine Dies,…The Emergency of Biodiversity

The Extinction of Blancmoutier

by Paige Donner

Blancmoutier was the name of the wine produced from the single and unique vineyard that existed on Ile de Noirmoutier. Ile de Noirmoutier is a tiny island off the Northwest coast of France, just on the border of the Loire-Atlantique and Brittany. I call it my Nantucket of the North (of France).

Video is from website of Fleur de Sel, a superlative local restaurant in Noirmoutier-en-L’Ile

By now you’ve probably heard about the heart-stopping biodiversity report released here in Paris on May 6th. From it, we’ve learned that the human species can take credit for wiping out and/or imperiling as many as 1 MILLION other species whose rightful home is Earth.

If that doesn’t make you fully disgusted by our invasive species, then God help you.

Certainly God help these species with whom we are supposed to be sharing this planet.

From National Geographic:

One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns

A landmark global assessment warns that the window is closing to safeguard biodiversity and a healthy planet. Yet solutions are in sight.

What does white wine from Ile de Noirmoutier have to do with Orangutans and other planet Earth species?

The answer can be given simply in one word: Extinction

The bottles of wine pictured here below are the last of their kind. Last summer, the vines of Ile de Noirmoutier were ripped up. The winemaker and vineyard owner was getting older and there was no support for him to keep caring for his vines.

Blancmoutier – white wine from Ile de Noirmouter. The vines no longer exist (since 2018) . Therefore, you are looking at a priceless relic here. PHoto by Paige Donner copyright 2018.

Photos by Paige Donner copyright 2018.

In fact there was great incentive to rip them up: Ripping them up meant that new housing developments could replace the vineyard. It meant that this nurturer of wine, this life-long cultivator of vines, a man who spent his life with his hands and feet firmly planted in the soil, could have a decent retirement.

Who can blame him? Certainly not I.


I mourn the fact that I couldn’t rally support to preserve this last, unique and singular vineyard on this small Loire-Atlantique island. If just for the sake of biodiversity. It is now gone. Vanished. Try even to do a search on the internet to find its existence. You’ll find nothing: Its existence has been wiped off the face of the Earth. Uprooted. The vines have been stripped out and even the digital footprints have been wiped. As if it had never even existed in the first place.

What was the wine like?

Well, if you are a ‘wine snob’ then you might say, something to the effect of, ” it couldn’t hold a candle to a Puligny-Montrachet.” But that’s not the point is it? (In fact it was fresh and full of ‘sable’ and that particular taste of iodine that has made the famous La Bonnotte potatoes from the same island so coveted by chefs. In other words it tasted of genuine, authentic terroir of Pays Loire-Atlantique.

The point of biodiversity is that nature expresses itself in myriad ways. All of which are beautiful. Beautiful and to be revered in their own way. Far be it for us to place a value on God’s creations. The arrogance!

So this week as we mourn the fact that this invasive species called human beings are threatening the existence of 1 million of our fellow Earth inhabitants, I pay homage to the fact that these vines of Ile de Noirmoutier will forever never more be.

Finished. Nada. Extinct.

It is a sobering thought to realize that this – THIS PATH OF EXTINCTION – is the path we have firmly taken as human beings. And in full conscience.

Tourism Ile de Noirmoutier

Contact Paige @ paigedonner.info

Listen to the podcast: Paris GOODfood+wine on Spotify, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Soundcloud, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher.


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