News from 09/12/2009
2009 has been a year of transition for Domaine Chapelle. The winery has just been certified as an Organic winemaker, after a conversion period that started in 2006 - a just reward for the considerable efforts of Jean François Chapelle and all of the team.
2009 will be a great vintage!
Yvette and Jean François are smiling. They couldn’t have hoped for a better vintage for their first year as certified Organic winemakers. Since 2006, this family winery of 20 hectares based in Santenay, has evolved the cultivation of their vines to comply with organic standards; mechanic weeding and soil preparation, the exclusive use of sulphur and copper for treating mildew on the vines, and regular controls from Qualité France (the independent organization that grants and controls Organic certification). This recognition is thanks to the work of all the team who, for the last 10 years, has re-evaluated their working practices and has learnt new techniques.
A man with a passion, Jean François Chapelle progressively came round to Organic methods by pondering the quality of the soil that grows his vines, and by worrying about the impact of agrochemicals on humans and the environment. ”I am a Burgundy winemaker, and by this label, guarantor of a cultural product called WINE. The Burgundy winemakers cannot continue to defend this culture whilst ignoring the health of those who work in the vineyards, the quality of the soil that we leave to our children, and the quality of the water in our villages. If I speak of terroir, it is because I work with my team so as to best express the identity of my wines, whether they are regional, village, premier cru or grand cru.”
What is Organic Wine ?
Since 2006, the Domaine Chapelle vines have been nurtured according to the rule book imposed by Organic farming, which details the methods and practices that are applicable to vines. These are checked by a regulatory body - Qualité France in the case of Domaine Chapelle. These checks, scheduled or random, are carried out in the vineyard, in the storage areas of equipment and wine, as well as in the offices of the winery. The cost of these checks are borne by the winery.
The exclusion of chemical weed killers means that the ground is now prepared by mechanical weeding. Each vineyard is passed through in this way two to four times a year, which favours the life of natural microbes in the soil, and allows the soil to be better aerated and more alive. Chemical herbicides and pesticides are also banned for treating the vines. The only products allowed are copper and sulphur, used to combat mildew and fungi respectively. These natural products aren’t absorbed into the plants to react, and are used as a preventative method after each rainfall.
At this point in time, the specifications of Organic farming impose no obligations on the vinification process. Nevertheless, the work in the vineyard should be in harmony with the work carried out in the cellar. For this reason, Domaine Chapelle has invested in building a new reception area for the harvested grapes. This new layout allows uses gravity with the help of little wagons and conveyor belts to better respect the grapes, ensuring that they arrive in the vats intact.
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