- Adhemar de Chaunac
Adhemar F. de Chaunac (born 1896) was a French-born
Canadian winepioneer who helped lay the groundwork for a successful wine industry in Ontarioand other eastern North American wine regions.
He was born in 1896 in southwestern France, and immigrated to Canada in 1907. He temporarily returned to France to serve in the French army during
World War Ibetween 1915 and 1919.
Trained as a
chemist, and having worked in the dairy and yeast industries, he was hired as the chief chemist at Brights Winesin 1933. Promoted to director of research in 1944, he served in this capacity until he retired in 1961. Alongside viticulturalist George Hostetter, he was to have a major impact on the long term prospects of the North American wine industry. [ [http://www.littlefatwino.com/hostetter.html "G. Hostetter: the Pioneering Years at Brights"] ]
In 1946, de Chaunac was responsible for the introduction to Canada of 35 French hybrid grapevines. Prior to the use of these varieties, wines in eastern North America were typically made with "foxy" native North American varieties like Concord or Niagara. The use of French hybrid varieties allowed for a more neutral flavour profile for wine production while still providing tolerances to climatic, soil, and disease conditions that made the use of traditional
Vitis viniferavarieties impossible in North American viticulture at that time. [ [http://www.tonyaspler.com/pub/articleview.asp?id=353&s=5 Tony Aspler: “Baco Noir and Maréchal Foch: The True Canadian Grapes?”] ]
It was Adhemar de Chaunac, along with
John Paroshywho first tested the use of Vidal blancfor the production of icewine. [ [http://www.foodreference.com/html/art-canadian-icewine.html "The Story of Canadian Icewine"] ] Vidal is now the most common ice wine grape in Ontario, producing icewines which are a successful exportproduct and routinely win international competitions. Marechal Foch(Kuhlmann 188-2), De Chaunac(Seibel 9549), Baco noir, and Leon Millotare some of the successful hybrids introduced by de Chaunac. While vitis vinifera varieties have ultimately supplanted the majority of French hybrid plantings in eastern North America, hundreds of hectares remain in production, some even used to produce "cult wines" from old vine plantings.
De Chaunac(Seibel 9549) grape variety, still grown in some northeastern wine regions, was named after Adhemar de Chaunac.
[http://www.nfpl.library.on.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=93013&b=1 Photograph of Adhemar de Chaunac at the Niagara Falls Public Library]
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