Wine and whimsy at the Vignoble Les Farfelus

By Nick Fonda
Wine and whimsy at the Vignoble Les Farfelus
Dominic Belleville, co-owner of the Vignoble Les Farfelus in Melbourne. (Photo : Nick Fonda)

The vineyard is over a decade old, but the owners—Dominic Belleville and Hélène Germain—are new and so are the wines they have already started producing.
“We bought the property 18 months ago,” says Dominic of the small vineyard on the Arel Road, a few hundred yards and across Route 116 from the Richmond-Melbourne Cross-Country Skiing Centre.
“Aside from having always enjoyed wine, we had no prior experience, either with growing grapes, or any sort of gardening for that matter, nor with the fermentation and production of wine,” he explains. “But before embarking on our project, we sought professional advice from agronomists, technicians, and experts connected in some way with oenophilia.”
A counsellor in labor relations, Dominic has worked as a union consultant for the last two decades and continues to do so. The move from Montreal to the Townships was the result of a desire to get back to the land, and it came after several years of planning.
“Originally,” he says, “we were thinking of going into business with fruit-bearing shrubs like blueberries, or gooseberries, or raspberries. It was while we were researching some of those options that we started thinking about a vineyard.”

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