Organic & Biodynamic
Since the beginning of my training I tried to comprehend the different practices used in French and European vineyards. When I returned to the family winery in 1982, I had the ambition to create “great wines”, but to my despair my first vintage as winemaker (1984) was particularly mediocre.
Destabilized I went to look for advice in other wine regions and specifically in Alsace. This led me to change my soil maintenance practices. I analysed several soil samples and adjusted my fertilization program. Gradually I tested different ways of cover cropping and also mechanical weeding techniques.
Today our 6 hectares are all cover cropped and mechanically weeded. Whilst there is no more comfort logic anymore I do try to combine the tasks by coupling the mowing and mechanical weeding to trimming tasks. Regarding the maintenance of the cover crop, it is important to slow down the grass vigour before flowering. All in all my reflections on soil maintenance took 10 years.
In a second phase I concentrated more specifically on the protection of the vine. This is when I learned about organic cultivation techniques. But nothing in itself is perfect and even organic growing can have a negative impact on the biodiversity. In an almost obvious way, biodynamic practices started to appear in my regular way of working. In 2009, partly because I regretted that sustainable viticultural practices were neither recognized nor valued, I made the choice to convert. My engagement in organic and biodynamic grape growing is thus the result of a long research process and a fierce desire to progress toward an environmentally respectful viticulture.
Above all one has to be committed to farm organically.