The viticulture

Our viticulture is entirely artisanal, natural and biodynamic. We planted our vineyards using traditional methods, especially high density planting, massale selection and old, lower yielding rootstocks as well as the Gobelet Languedocien pruning system. We only cultivate the native grape varieties of the region: Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault.

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Deep rooting is encouraged by making our own compost of sheep manure and pomace, and tilling our soils. Our biodynamic preparations further promote the vitality of the soil and roots as well as plant growth and natural resistance to diseases. Plant treatments are kept to a minimum, using only sulfur and a very small amount of copper as well as herbal infusions. All these viticultural practices allow us to harvest healthy grapes which retain their natural freshness and ripe tannins. Yields are very low between 25 and 30 hectoliters per hectare on average. Harvesting and sorting is done by hand only.

    The seasons

    The winter season The work in our vineyards is determined by the seasons. They start in December, when the growth cycle of the vines is in hibernation. During the winter months until March the pruning of the vines is in the foreground. We practice the traditional “gobelet languedocien” pruning system, in which the vine are cut down almost to the ground. In summer, the vines form a bush and thus protect the grapes from the hot sun.

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    During the fall and winter is also the phase of maturation of our compost. We produce it from our own grape marc as well as sheep manure from the region. In March and April we expand the compost into the vineyards and plow once. The seasons of spring and summer n April the vines enter into their vegetative growth cycle, which will last until late July. During all this time the care of the vineyards is in the foreground. In May, the surplus shoots are de-budded. Moreover, the protection of vines against the fungal diseases must be ensured. Our vines grow on a healthy soil, produce low yields, and enjoy biodynamic preparations. Hence we can reduce the treatments of the vineyards to a minimum. We use mostly sulfur, a little copper, and Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). Our copper dose varies depending on the climatic conditions of the year between 300g and 2kg/ha/year (by comparison: organic viticulture in the European Union allows 6kg/ha, Demeter 3kg/ha). We also use herbal teas such as nettle, horsetail, marigold fields and wicker. We treat our vines on average only 4 to 6 times a year with extremely low doses of products. Throughout this period the vineyards are ploughed once or twice. Most of all this work is done by hand, which allows us to adapt individually to each plot.


      The origins of biodynamic farming Biodynamic agriculture goes back to Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). In 1924 he taught the so called “courses for farmers” to 60 farmers in Koberwitz in Germany. In his speeches which lasted six days, he pointed out a holistic view of agriculture and, based on this, recommended methods to improve farming. Since then, these methods have been refined and developed worldwide.

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      The biodynamic preparations Within biodynamic agriculture two preparations play a major role: the horn dung (called preparation 500) and the horn silica (preparation 501). Preparation 500 is done with cow dung which is filled into cow horns and buried in the ground for several months. The 501 is elaborated in the same way, but with ground quartz. During the year, these preparations are dynamised in source water and then applied to the vineyards at specific times of the year depending on the position of the moon and of the planets. We use dung horn twice a year, once in spring before bud break, and again in the fall after harvest. Horn silica is used once in June after flowering. Of great importance are also six herbal preparations (preparations 502-507) that we use to improve our compost maturation process.------ ----------- -- ---------- -------- ----------- -- ---------- -------- ----------- -- ---------- -- The results of biodynamics On our domaine we are working according to the principles of biodynamics since 1999, hence since the very beginning. Since we started, our experiences were very convincing: the soils of our vineyards are alive, after heavy rains we have no erosion on the hill slopes, plant diversity in the vineyards is exceptionally high, the root system of our vineyards and the natural flora is highly developed and our vineyards are extremely resistant to all illnesses. In the cellar the results are just as convincing: the grapes contain high levels of tannins and acidity which protects them naturally. The use of oenological products in the wine can thus be outlawed, and our wines are characterized by minerality and balance. These results are consistent with other winemaker's experiences working seriously in biodynamics. In addition, they are supported by scientific studies. The most prominent is a comparative study which has been conducted over 21 years, whose results were published in the prestigious journal "Science" “Science” (P. Mäder et al. : Soil Fertility and Diversity in Organic Farming, le 31 mai 2002, vol. 296, p.1694-1697). Les auteurs concluent que en agriculture biologique, et tout particulièrement en agriculture biodynamique - contrairement à la production conventionnelle - les plantes trouvent leurs ressources principalement dans les sols, et n'ont besoin que ponctuellement d'intrants sous forme d'engrais, de pesticides et d'énergie. Pour des vignerons qui, comme nous, sommes à la recherche de vins de terroir, la biodynamie est la façon la plus convaincante d'y parvenir.

        The harvest

        Harvesting period We usually start to harvest around September 10th and continue until the first week of October. The maturity periods of the five varieties we cultivate are quite different. Syrah and Cinsault grapes are always the first to mature, and it is with this those we start harvesting in September. We finish the harvest depending on the year, with Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan.

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        Hand picking We harvest by hand only in boxes of 30kg. The average yield on our arid slate soils, and working biodynamically without any chemical fertilizers, is very modest. It lies between 25 and 30 hectoliters per hectare, depending on the year. We sort the grapes once during harvest in the vineyard. A second sorting is done just before steeping in the cellar.