PRESERVING THE SOIL
Soil is any farmer's main asset so it is of fundamental importance to keep it in good condition.
We only use manure from a local farm. No chemical fertiliser is used.
Before the manure is spread, it is composted which involves shaking up the pile to encourage it to ferment (in your garden the same thing happens to a heap of freshly mown grass). This has the effect of breaking up the structure, making it less lumpy and therefore easier for the soil to assimilate it and secondly, the manure is less aggressive as the nitrogen content is diminished. However the organic content remains unchanged which is the main benefit of manure as this maintains the microbiological lfe in the soil.
At the end of the growing season, the soil has been compacted by the weight of the tractor. During the winter, we decompact the soil by using a method that does not disturb the structure of the soil but simply airs it.
No weed killer
We have eliminated the general use of herbicides by mecanically hoeing the top level of the soil to control weeds. This is easy to do in the centre of the row but much more difficult around the vines themselves which is why only a minority of wine producers anywhere in France do this. We are the only ones in our appellation to do this apart from one organic producer. The hoeing also encourages the roots of the vines to grow deeper thus making the vines more drought resistant. Also, the deeper the roots the more contact they have with the bedrock which improves the minerality of the wine.
As vines are often grown on slopes, erosion caused notably by summer storms is a problem. We grow grass down the middle of the rows to prevent this.