"Massal selection is a kind of survival of the fittest for vines where cuttings from only the best vines are propagated. This is accomplished through field selections. In France, many Burgundy houses are going back to this technique by taking cuttings from their old vines. The belief is that vines lose their identity through clonal selection.
Massal selection differs from clonal selection in the following ways: a clone is a vine propagated from one single vine, a mother vine, and each plant is identical in DNA and uniform in personality; massal selection involves choosing a number of outstanding vines from the vineyard and then propagating new vines from that budwood; and the selection process continues from one generation to the next. The vines then are from the same family, with the same genes, but the individual plants are not identical. "
This story has been going on for some time and suddenly , ONIVINS sent certified mails to order the destruction of these vine grafts , as having been transferred from Burgundy to the Loire Valley without some precautionary measures to check that no diseases were present in the vines . They claimed Burgundy had had some cases of "flavescence dorée", in english red coloration of the leaves, and that the correct procedures to transfer the vine grafts having not been correctly followed , the destruction was the only way out .
Gregory Loras claims he is the victim of of the increasingly agressive french viticulture control bodies , such as ONIVINS , which since a year or two, according to Pascal Frissant , ( from the Confederation Paysanne , and who intervened to present the case ) , not only sends menacing mails to the vignerons breaking the strict rules , but engages more and more into punitive actions and procedures .
After Gregory Loras , several people took the mike to express their dismay in the face of this counterproductive bullying.
Jean Pierre Mercier, himself punished by the state agencies and obliged to destroy 87 000 vine grafts, said a few words to the people present. Then Pascal Frissant, from the Confederation Paysanne, who had a few harsh words for the unknown state employees who take the decision to destroy, saying that he defied anyone to find a name, a physical person behind such a decision, as they usually hide in the anonymity of inscrutable administrations. He also said that if this case had been signaled to his group earlier, it maybe could have been successfully resolved.
Then Mikael Bouges, a vigneron himself, speaks, and says that this looks like a war against something that means life, as these massal selections are a typical example of revitalization of the vineyard toward authenticity and life.
Then, Catherine Roussel ( from Clos Roche Blanche , which was supposed to receive and plant the grafts ) , speaks. She is very emotional and calm, and makes several pauses of silence, on the verge of crying ( she actually cried when the fire started ). She says that she is very disappointed of all this administration-ordered waste, and also that she loves her winemaker job and does everything to make a better work , which is good for the region and the country... At last, Didier Barrouillet, associate of Catherine ( Clos Roche Blanche ), says thank you to the crowd for the sympathy that they manifested this day, and he regrets that the local viticulture- and winery unions didn't move nor proposed their help.
Anyone present today, he said, could take and save one graft, and plant it in his/her backyard as a reminder and hope that this sort of thing never happens again. The vine grafts pile was set on fire shortly before noon that day.