“You don’t get a true representation of terroir by buying fruit from Ontario and adding a French yeast. A great wine is grown, not made in the winery—that’s the only way to get a true taste of the landscape.” –Emmanuel Maniadakis, owner of Verger Biologique Maniadakis
Tell us about what you do.
I grow certified-organic, biodynamic apples and pears; I make a certified-organic, biodynamic apple ice wine, a pear ice wine, and a still cider (apple wine) with no manipulation, using natural indigenous yeasts and natural filtration, no sulfates added. It’s the only natural wine in all of North America recognized by Nicolas Joly and his group of natural wine makers in France (le Renaissance des Appellations/Return to Terroir).
What led you to your current position?
My intolerance for chemicals, my love for nature, my respect for my terroir; the challenge of doing what's considered impossible: to grow an edible organic apple in the Northeast.
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
I love doing all the physical work: the pruning, the spraying, the working the land. I like getting my hands in the dirt.
What’s a typical day of work for you?
Depending on the time of year, I could be pruning trees all day and spraying all night, picking apples in the middle of the winter, pressing apples in –20-degree weather, repairing equipment, taking care of administration details, organizing/participating in wine tastings and wine shows, or the worst and most hated part of my work—dealing with the banks!
We loved Eros, your organic apple ice cider, which we tasted (and purchased) in Montréal. How does your product speak to the culinary landscape of Québec?
My apple ice wine is the only one that represents the true "terroir" of the landscape, mainly because I never use any other fruit but what I grow in my orchard and indigenous yeasts ferment all my wines. That is the only way to get the true representation of your terroir—not by buying fruit from Ontario and adding a French yeast, and not by using herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, or any other chemicals in the wine making. In my opinion a great wine is grown, not made in the winery, and that’s the only way to get a true taste of the landscape.
On Eat Your World, we ask users to share short food memories related to travel, a favorite meal, growing up—anything. Can you share a brief food memory with our readers?
My favorite food memory was when I was a child and my father took me on a lobster fishing boat in New Brunswick, as he was friends with the captain. I saw how the lobsters were harvested, and we actually boiled and ate the lobster on the boat. The scenery of the wide open sea , the smell of the sea, and the taste of that lobster still has a strong hold on me. My father has passed away since then, but that experience stays fresh, as if it were yesterday.
All photos courtesy of Verger Biologique Maniadakis