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Raising the training wires and biodynamic farming at Domaine la Cabotte


Last Saturday we were welcomed to Domaine la Cabotte, in the heart of the Massif d'Uchaux region of the Rhône Valley. Marie-Pierre and Eric Plumet d'Ardhuy initiated us in working in the vineyard and introduced us to the biodynamic farming principles used on the estate. We had a very instructive day with some very warm sunshine!
Wine making course in the Rhone Valley

As our guests noted, Domaine la Cabotte is to be found in the middle of the vines, surrounded by wooded hills, vineyards and the Mont Ventoux in the distance. What better place to discover the profession of wine making. The aim of the Discovery Experience Day is to understand the work carried out in the vineyard from winter right up to the harvest the following autumn, and so we began the day in the vineyard.

Vineyard tour in the Rhône Valley

Eric recounted the history of the winery and the establishment of the Massif d'Uchaux wine appellation. He then brought us up to speed on the work that Marie-Pierre and he had already done since last winter, covering such topics as pruning and the flowering of the vines. He then showed us how to raise the training wires to better space and support the weight of the vines as they grow.

French wine making course in the Rhône Valley

The training wires had just been raised, but had not yet been attached. Armed with handfuls of clips, we clipped the wires together to keep the vine branches in place between the wires. It can get very hot in the middle of the vineyard, particularly in the Rhône Valley, and luckily Marie-Pierre had brought some home-made drinks to share with us! After this full morning, we were glad to find some shade back at the winery to taste some of the estate's wines and enjoy the meal prepared by Marie-Pierre.

Winemaker meal Domaine la Cabotte France

We spent the afternoon in the cool of the chai, where Eric talked to us about the different herbal treatments made of horsetail, valerian, stinging nettles and the like, that serve to help stimulate the growth of the plant. He also showed us how the soil is vitalised using a preparation of cow manure that has been buried in cow horns according to the biodynamic principles.

Biodynamic farming in France Rhône Valley

Eric finished the day by briefly explaining the key steps in fermenting the wine, something that we will go into more detail about during the Vinification Experience Days.

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