Believe it or not, Bécancour actually has two vineyards, a hop-and-a-skip from the bridge spanning the St. Lawrence River that links Trois-Rivières and Bécancour. If you start out from the bridge and head east for 2 km or so on Route 132 (boul. Bécancour), you'll see a sign for the Clos des Vieux Chênes (keep an eye out for the sign because it is easy to miss).
You'll be taken aback perhaps by the modest house and laneway leading up to this vineyard (especially if you've visited the grand vineyards in the Niagara region), but you'll be charmed by the owners' enthusiasm and passion for this family-owned vineyard. One of the owners greeted us as we arrived, gave us a tour of the vineyard and talked to us about the land and how his family had started out, the challenges of growing vines on the south shore, etc.
We then sampled a couple of their wines and chose a fairly decent red...Le Péché mignon. With the wines we tasted, we were offered small pieces of cheese or chocolate. The wines are inexpensive ($14 for our bottle of red), and the wine tasting is free. Everything here is very casual and unpretentious. And yes, the oaks (chênes) are old, and quite magnificent.
For cyclists: This section of Route 132 has a bike lane, so you can ride safely to the Clos des Vieux Chênes. Be sure to get the cycling map for Bécancour at the tourist information bureau.
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