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Being an organic winemaker in 2015


At the start of a new year, all is still imaginable and possible for 2015. The biggest organic wine fair in the world, Millésime Bio, shortly takes place from the 26th to 28th January, and all of our partner winemakers will be there. We took the opportunity to ask them what their vision and expectations were for organic winemaking in 2015. Here is a synopsis of their responses:
Wishes from Domaine la Cabotte Mondragon France

Why did you convert to being organic?

For Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, organically converted since 1999, and also biodynamically certified in some of their vineyards, it's a work philosophy before anything else. "To simply best express the quality of an exceptional terroir by respecting our working and natural environment."

Jean-François Chapelle, owner of Domaine Chapelle, converted the entire estate of his vineyards in 2009, and explained that "for the vines to convey the secrets of the soil through their grapes, the winemaker must respect life; the life of the soil and the life of the vine by excluding chemical weed-killers and fertilisers, and the human lives to stop the development of professional illnesses linked to farming such as cancers, asthma, and skin diseases." Converting to organic farming methods happened naturally at the winery in the continuity of "the Chapelle family history of producing terroir wines."

At Domaine Stentz-Buecher, the arrival of Stéphane, son of the owners, to the winery in 1995 brought a different vision of balancing work and nature.  They officially started the certification process in 2007 and received organic status in 2010.

But watch out, ironises Ghislain d'Aboville, owner of Domaine Allegria, who started the journey to be organically certified in 2008. "Not all winemakers are born into a vineyard and not all of their parents reared goats in the Larzac after 1968!" In his case, there is of course a philosophical reason, "the book by Marie-Monique Robin, and the film Le Monde Selon Monsato were the catalyst." But there were also family considerations. "We're happy that our children can gorge themselves on grapes during the harvest without worrying about chemical treatments which we don't use."

Wishes from Domaine Allegria Pézenas France

What has changed for you since converting to organic winemaking ?

For some, such as Eric Plumet, who together with his wife, Marie-Pierre, own Domaine la Cabotte. They converted organically in 2002 and biodynamically in 2006, and for them the answer is "the sense of no longer working against nature but with nature. To respect the living and to put everything in place to enrich this life in our soils, our vines and our wines. We've developed our powers of observation and our ability to work naturally."

The effects are also visible in the vineyards for Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard and "the vines have regained strength, know how to better defend themselves against disease, and produce more constant yields."

At Domaine Allegria, they have gone further than just the vineyard, and introduced an organic vegetable patch in 2014 and will add an organic chicken run in 2015.

For Domaine Stentz-Buecher : "Above and beyond respecting the official organic charter, we are also seeking the best quality. We voluntarily reduce the yields, are extremely selective when sorting the grapes and vinify our wines naturally."

Wishes from Domaine Brocard Chablis France

What are the things you are looking forward to this year ?

Our partners are awash with new projects for 2015:

  • The acquisition of a new plot of vines of Santenay Premier Cru Beaurepaire for Domaine Chapelle.
  • Training the teams and developing the buildings at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard to welcome and share their vision of winemaking with more visitors.
  • The start of a social responsibility certification and a new rosé wine that will be fuller and even more seductive at Domaine Allegria
  • The arrival of Etienne, the son of Marie-Pierre and Eric at Domaine la Cabotte, who will start working with them, and a new very old plot of Grenache vines in Châteuneuf du Pape, which are cultivated organically and are undergoing biodynamic conversion.

What are your wishes for your winery and team in 2015?

The wishes of our partners are fairly unanimous concerning 2015, "to go even further organically to respect the environment" at Domaine Chapelle and to "help increase awareness of organic wine in France and internationally" at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard.

Domaine la Cabotte reminds us that we should indeed wish for, "generous conditions to give us the best possible wines because one should never forget that we can only work with that which nature provides us weather wise."

And not forgetting the importance to our winemakers of sharing great moments with their clients. We wish you an excellent millésime, lots of Allegria, and to share this joy with those around you.

More information on our partner winemakers

 

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