Vine and Wine Collection

Who made the name of Médoc wines? How were the vines grown in Alsace? What havoc did phylloxera wreak on French vineyards? What does a Burgundian wine press look like? Vines and wines are at the heart of a plethora of literature in the 19th century.

Collected in the Burgundy oenological station in Beaune or in the former Vigne et Vin experimental unit near Angers, our documents on vines and wine cover both vine cultivation and as well as wine-making and its tools. They were intended for the scientific community of his the time, for wine growers and wine lovers.

One of the most important subjects in our collection is that relating to vine diseases:  these diseases, whether caused by insects (pyralidia or phylloxera) or by fungi (powdery mildew), were described and studied in order to be controlled. In 1876, more than 500 rather far-fetched and ineffective methods of combating phylloxera were listed in a memorandum written by the entomologist M. Trimoulet. That same year, the Academy of Sciences, led by P. Cornu, took this subject very seriously by publishing the memoirs of the time best scientists of the time, with its "Study on Philloxera Vastatrix", while a few years later, P. Viala carried out his famous "mission to America" in order to bring back healthy vines.

Wine was first and foremost a consumer product, but also one of prestige. In 1870, Edouard Féret explained how to build up a good cellar even even with limited means. One cellar guide begins with the following words: "Everyone drinks; but how few know what they should drink and how to obtain the drinks that suit their temperament, their relative resources and their diet." Wine is indeed a story to be taken seriously.

The grapevine BRC reference herbarium

The Vassal's reference herbarium is unique. It includes 14000 files with morphological and et agronomical descriptions about thousands of grapevine accessions.

An important digitalization project of this unique herbarium has been launched in 2017. The documents can be read and download on Internet Archive and via the french network of grapevine repositories.