IF ONLY YOU COULD LIVE WITH THE SCENT OF THE EARTH, AND SUCH A PLANT SUSTAIN YOU OF LIGHT…
The art of winemaking consists, in my opinion, of finding the most effective means to assist each parcel in expressing itself taking into account its uniqueness. Alternatively explained, , in viticulture there is but the “truth of the place” and that which works here is perhaps out of date over there. As well written by Kant “Chronologically, there is no knowledge before experience, and it is with the latter that all begins”.
A vineyard holding is often a spot for monoculture and therefore is a zone that is de-facto in disequilibrium and one must do everything to counter balance this state of existence. We have at our disposal, the environment close to the vineyard (forests, plains), if well managed, and adapted , to the soil, by semi annuals, be a source of organic matter, good soil structure and biodiversity.
The current conception by the wine elite that leans toward a high precision viticulture in my mind is slightly too esthetic and too concerned with image . This philosophy produces abusive leaf thinning, topping, and trimming, and green harvest grass cutting…. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a so called “natural” agriculture (in vogue in other circles) perhaps succumbs to an overarching naïve depiction (that nature tends to all !) and robs the winemaker of his work and toil.
We try to guide the vineyard toward an objective that man has designated since the time that he has pruned it(see PS et bottom) : to produce lovely grapes and allowing it to be surrounded by bio-diversity, to have a certain level of expression and therefore alternating times that we allow the plant to express itself (growing green fertilizers, no grass cutting before vine flowering and the distribution of unnatural seeds, not over cutting the grass so as to retain an ecological nest for insects, no radical or untimely trimming so as not to allow the growing of laterals),other moments where one must structure the development (pruning, trellising, de-budding, tying up, in some cases a few green harvests here and there, light leaf thinning only on the sunrise side to protect aromatic finesse and to avoid the scorching of the berries.
With respect to the soil, it is a matter of finding the best equilibrium for a disease-free vineyard but that somewhat suffers to produce healthy grapes for the winery…
Our vines are well tended to and require of us a significant effort and in the end it is in the spirit of cultivating an English-style garden……….
Finally, regarding grape varieties, we increasingly plant Cabernet Franc so as to augment our planted surface area percentage (the objective is to arrive at 40% in a few years) and we will most likely undertake a visual selection of the most robust vine plants on a parcel of Petit Verdot in 2013. Currently the vineyard is made up of 70% Merlot , de 25% 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ps :*That which is not natural : seems to conclude that in antiquity, man found that vineyards that were grazed upon by goats produced grapes differently than from vineyards that grew in total liberty and that could benefit from surrounding trees.