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Le Mas de Patriotes winery: Where heritage meets terroir

Interviews

Le Mas de Patriotes winery: Where heritage meets terroir

Le Mas des Patriotes winery grew out of a lifelong dream. In the early 2000s, France Cliche restored an old abandoned barn and planted the first few acres of vines in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu—becoming one of only a handful of women winery owners.

Published on April 3, 2024

One Father’s Day, France gifted three grapevine cuttings to her husband, Claude Rivard, who had long dreamed of owning his own vineyard. “If they survive the winter, we’ll sow your dream,” she had promised.  As you may have guessed, the project was fruitful…

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The couple purchased a piece of land with a small abandoned farm on it. They worked it tirelessly using pickaxes, shovels, axes, and rakes to turn it into what it is today: a property that exudes character and charm, with an exquisite barn that houses a shop. Recycled barn wood, exposed beams, antique furniture—every element is carefully thought out.

On my arrival, France was there to greet me. Her passion for the terroir, its history and the quality of her products was infectious. She’s evidently someone who cares about preserving and promoting Quebec’s rich cultural heritage.

The estate is a place for people to reconnect with the very essence of land and the wine made from the grapes that grow there. For France, practising organic farming was a must. “Organic is a lifestyle, and everyone has to do their part. Respect for the land is ingrained in my values—and, of course, I spend a lot of my time here, so using pesticides is out of the question,” she explained.

She noted that the vineyard has been in better shape since organic practices were introduced. It appears more lush and the grapes are of better quality. To go a step further, France is learning about sustainable agriculture best practices, including biodynamics. She also works with other producers from the region to promote recycling—for instance, an artisan cheesemaker has used her grape pomace in the making of his washed rind cheese. 

Le Mas des Patriotes belongs to an agritourism route that promotes shopping local. Folks from remote small villages come to buy wine, and the producers then refer them to other nearby businesses, inspiring them to discover the wealth of treasures the region has to offer. 

“It’s important to me that I meet the people who come to my vineyard. A great deal of passion and effort goes into the wine we make—it’s no small feat. And spending some time with customers is a huge part of this wonderful adventure.”

 

- France, propriétaire Vignoble Mas des Patriotes

Towards the end of the visit, France led me into the winery’s secret room in the former stable that now serves as her furniture restoration workshop. That’s when I learned that she’s not only a winemaker, but also an antiques dealer! This completed the portrait of this multi-talented woman, who’s the embodiment of respect for the local terroir and cultural heritage.

France’s passion comes through in everything she does, from her organic—and soon-to-be biodynamic—growing practices to the use of noble and ancient materials to tastefully remodel the structures found on-site.

Head to Le Mas des Patriotes winery, where a deep reverence for the Richelieu Valley terroir comes through in every glass. 

Vignoble Le Mas des Patriotes

1072 Chemin des Patriotes Ouest
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu QC  J2Y 1H4

in partnership with Vaolo

Discover the organic wines from Le Mas des Patriotes

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