The Vineyard blows out 40 candles and acquires Union Libre

Publié le 15 July 2022


Montreal, June 14, 2022 – A pioneer in its industry and the first Quebec vineyard to have sold its wine in SAQ, the Vignoble de l’Orpailleur is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Located in Dunham in the Eastern Townships, the vineyard was founded by four enthusiasts, Hervé Durand, Charles-Henri de Coussergues, Frank Furtado and Pierre Rodrigue who are still linked in this great human adventure 40 years later. L’Orpailleur was also the first Quebec vineyard to study the principle of sustainable viticulture and to adopt it in 1996. A leading wine tourism destination in Quebec, the Vignoble de l’Orpailleur has been welcoming visitors since 1985 and introducing them to the work of the artisan winemaker in a northern climate. The vineyard has an agrotourism site, the Economuseum of the winegrower and a restaurant Le Tire-Bouchon. L’Orpailleur also marked an important turning point in its history this year with the acquisition of the Vignoble et verger Union Libre. To mark this anniversary, a sparkling rosé wine is also entering the large Orpailleur family, as well as a book signed by Hervé Durand; The Orpailleur Vineyard | 40 years! 1982-2022.


In 1984, Gilles Vigneault, the creator of the name “L’Orpailleur”, said of the wines of the vineyard: “From the Dunham vineyard to your glass … it is authentically from here”.​​ – Charles- Henri de Coussergues – Winemaker and co-owner of l’Orpailleur


L’Orpailleur and Union Libre: an exceptional alliance

Because l’Orpailleur strongly believes in the great potential and the future of Quebec vitiviniculture, acquiring Union Libre fits naturally into the course of their history. Created in 2010, Union Libre has become, over the years, a flourishing 70-acre vineyard and orchard, with an interesting grape variety, more than 30,000 very well-kept vines and producing high-quality grapes. Located on a hillside with a magnificent view and a direct west exposure, this makes this brand a privileged place for viticulture. In addition, Union Libre has its own terroir, distinct from that of l’Orpailleur.


“For a winegrower, what an opportunity and luck to have a very different terroir a few meters from his vineyard! »
– Charles-Henri de Coussergues – Winemaker co-owner of the Orpailleur


L’Orpailleur is located on the first foothills of the Appalachian chain, and on ancient beaches of the Champlain Sea (sand and gravel) at an altitude of 130m (height above sea level). Its soil is characterized by glacial deposits, a heterogeneous mixture of gravel, pebbles, limestone, shale and even slate in places. The exceptional terroir of Orpailleur is thus composed of an amalgam of clay, sand, gravel and boulders.

Located at an altitude of 170m above sea level, Union Libre is located on a hillside that has a completely different history. These are soils that have remained wooded for millennia, thus giving different soils rich in minerals and organic matter, all resting on slate strata. This expression of the terroir is found in its wines characterized by a distinct freshness and minerality. An exceptional terroir for exceptional wines.

Today, the winemaker and co-founder of the Vignoble, Charles-Henri surrounds himself with two of his daughters and his son-in-law: Laure, communications manager, Sarah, viti-viniculture technician then Alain Bazinet, vineyard manager. The quartet therefore works together to highlight Quebec wine products.


“Union Libre is already marked by its history; we will continue the work done so far, that is to say, preserve its terroir, develop the production of quality wines, with unique expressions. This with its own grapes, its vinification and aging in its cellars, the welcome within its walls. Quebec viticulture is still very young and in full development; several vineyards are expanding, while others will be born. L’Orpailleur is part of this movement by bringing its experience to Union Libre. The Orpailleur lives! » – Charles-Henri de Coussergues – Winemaker co-owner of l’Orpailleur


A new wine, the Orpailleur Frisant to discover at the Vineyard

The Vineyard is launching a brand new type of fresh, light and very aromatic wine, the Orpailleur Frisant! With muscat notes, a low degree of alcohol, a slight curl that tickles the palate on the attack and a pleasant liveliness, this new cuvée from the Vignoble de l’Orpailleur is perfect for a refreshing aperitif. This rosé will be particularly appreciated during the hot summer season, it will also delight your taste buds all year round! Made from a blend of muscat osceola and muscat de New York, two of the most expressive grape varieties in the vineyard, a short pellicular maceration gives it its pink color and a beautiful aromatic intensity. This wine is added to the 13 wines from 15 grape varieties grown in the vineyard. These cuvées are the fruit of the work of their hands and the heart they have put into them for 40 years. L’Orpailleur Frisant is available in a limited edition for the summer season and on sale exclusively at the vineyard from June 13, 2022.

40 years of history… to discover and read!

L’Orpailleur, after 40 years of existence, chooses to devote a book to it to allow everyone to discover or rediscover the Vineyard. The Orpailleur Vineyard Book | 40 years! 1982-2022 recounts, with emotion, the highlights of the last 4 decades, from difficult, almost desperate times, to the greatest moments of joy. At the time, when a Quebec farmer was not allowed to produce alcohol and it was not customary to open its doors to visitors, the Orpailleur was already aiming big. It was in 1996 that it became the first Quebec vineyard to sell wine at the SAQ.

Since that time, he has experienced a meteoric rise. Even in 2014, the Vignoble de l’Orpailleur won the Grand Prix du tourisme Desjardins des Cantons-de-l’Est, agrotourism and regional products category. Then the SAQ created the “Origine Québec” section and sales of L’Orpailleur jumped at breakneck speed, to the point where they experienced a 40% increase in just four months. However, their success is also undoubtedly attributed to the humans who make up the organization and who promote the same values ​​of respect for nature and passion conveyed by the strong and important corporate culture.


What is the story of the Orpailleur? Who are these men who have always carried this vineyard for 40 years? What is the daily life of a year made of? Are we at the heart of sustainable development? And why did it take so long to taste wines “from home”? These are some of the questions that l’Orpailleur tries to answer, page after page. There is also a presentation of the founding quartet as well as all their wines. The book is available now directly at the Vineyard and on the online store.

About l’Orpailleur

L’Orpailleur, a pioneering vineyard in its industry in Quebec, planted its first vines in 1982 in the beautiful Dunham Valley. Its winemaker and co-owner Charles-Henri de Coussergues, also ex-president of the association of winegrowers of Quebec and currently president of the Association of Agrotourism and Gourmet Tourism, is the precursor of the advancement of the wine industry in Quebec and defender of the implementation and evolution of many laws that promote the influence of Quebec vineyards in Canada and abroad. With the support of Quebecers, it remains today the leader in the Wines of Quebec category with four of its wines sold in SAQ and available in more than 300 branches.

About Union Libre

Union Libre cidre & vin, both a vineyard and an orchard, is inspired by the union of the two cultures as well as the fire-ice duality to create ciders and wines characterized by a distinct freshness and minerality. Union Libre cidre & vin continues to innovate in order to bring new products to the market that encourage drinking to the last drop!


Relations de presse | Thara Communications
Thara Tremblay-Nantel | 514-208-6897 | [email protected]


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