Organic and biodynamic farming and vine-growing became highly-popular for the first time at the beginning of the 1970’s, following several reports which caused people to question the status quo:
For some farmers, the prevailing model could only lead towards a dead end. As it indeed accelerated the desertification of rural areas, widened the imbalance between the Northern and Southern regions, consuming more and more energy, and inevitably leading to a deterioration of soils, air, water and nature. In addition, the productivism destroyed the balances between fauna and flora, forcing farmers or vine-growers to be continually dependent on using pesticides. Simultaneously, questions were raised in regards to the evermore standardised food- quality produced by conventional farming: what nutritive contents, what vitality, what social drives could these harvests provide?
Faced with this alarming observation, organic vine-growing attempted to provide a different answer. It’s based on an overall reasoning which takes into account all the interactions between the earth, water, plants, air, fauna and flora. It doesn’t work to fight against the vineyard enemy, but to contain them by recreating the balances, reactivating soil life, reinforcing the natural resistance of plants and giving a helping hand to natural cycles. It notably forbids any usage of synthetic phytopharmaceutical molecules.
Organic vine-growing in fact endeavours to understand the meaning and scope of all wine-making practices in connection with the ecosystem-related links. And this understanding is made clearer not only through ancestral wisdom and practices, but also through acquiring more recent findings.
Organic vine-growing is rigorously regulated. To boast the mention wine made from organically-farmed grapes, wine-makers must comply to rigidly-established regulations accredited by the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union. With these regulations, wine-makers undertake to notably manage their vines using zero chemical fertilisers or synthetic pesticides, and are subject to regular inspections by certifying bodies approved by the Public Authorities.
Must from organic grapes is vinified and aged using this same overall mindset and with equal respect for the vines. The cellar master must also reduce their actions to a strict minimum to preserve the natural evolution of wine, and use a minimum amount of sulphur required for good preservation.
Biodynamic vine-growing was inspired by the ideas of Rudolf STEINER, an Austrian agronomist from the first half of the 20th century. He focused on the same objectives but based his work on even more global approaches by returning the earth to the universe, and therefore recommended undertaking a certain amount of cultural practices in harmony with the cosmic cycles, notably the moon phases.
Consequently, these various initiatives look at farming or wine products no longer as isolated elements, but part of a production process which aims at maintaining the balances and complementarity of the plant and animal kingdoms with the ultimate objective of preserving the good health of the earth and its inhabitants.