tannins and earthy notes are more obvious on root days
Send us your experiences: we'd love to hear from you. If you are interested in learning more about biodynamics come and visit us to do a class or tour on how it works. Our classes and tours can be found at French Wine Adventures.
We do the work in the vineyard and winery ourselves so we know our vines and wines intimately. We do much work by hand and as close to the lunar calendar recommendations
as possible (see above). Sean prunes mostly when the moon is descending and privileges our top-end parcels with pruning them on fruit days.
For wine anoraks: the details on our biodynamic work in the vineyard and winery
We find tying down the canes in early Spring works well during periods of a rising moon: no broken canes. We work the soil with various cultivators and ploughs and follow the lunar calendar very closely in timing soil cultivation as we believe this, along with the biodynamic preparations and teas have had a tangible impact on our soil life - more earthworms, better humus formation, no erosion and great earthy odours. Sean sprays the dynamised 500 and 501 preparations. We make compost from cow manure and pressed grapes.
We seek to keep our vines in equilibrium during the growing season and ameliorate negative conditions with herbal teas and infusions. We use stinging nettle, willow and horsetail teas and infusions each time we spray against mildew and odium. If this sounds like mumbo jumbo to you, consider the proof: in each of the last two years of high mildew pressure, we used an average of 3kg of copper per hectare compared with the organic maximum of 6kg, the average around us was more like 8kg and we didn't have any mildew! In 2009 that reduced further to a mere 1,4kg per ha of copper. We are experimenting with sage infusions now in a quest to one day eliminate copper (a holy grail for bio vignerons). Sean sprays horn silica early morning to aid grape ripening.
We harvest early in the morning on fruit days. Our top-end wines we harvest by hand. For most of our production, we hire new high-tech harvest machines which are quite gentle on the vines and are also advantageous for bringing in the grapes cleanly at propitious times. In the winery, we aim to do much of the key vinification work on fruit days and sometimes the wine cooperates by finishing its fermentation on the requisite day. For lees stirring in vats and barriques, we use fruit days and some flower days for the white wines. Sean finds racking barriques works well at times of the descending moon and when atmospheric pressure is low. We bottle on fruit days. We use low sulphur dioxide doses as it masks all the effort you've put into unlocking the individuality of the vines' flavours.
We observe our vines, soils, and constellations so that we understand how and why to apply biodynamic practices rather than just follow a recipe or a certification checklist.
For the first time rare orchids made an appearance in our vines in 2008. After three years of working with organic practices & biodiversity returned. We pick wild fennel, garlic & salads from between the rows. If you are going to drink the wines from these vines we think it should be safe for us to eat under them!
Nature at Garrigue
But it's not just for us. Biodiversity means a better environment for all the plants and creatures that share our farm. For us its not just for cute communication, high biodiversity = less disease and far less chance of an insect infestation. A balanced environment means that we have a large and healthy population of the good insects that eat the insects that can cause problems in the vineyard.
Nature Trail with Aperitifs: Come to Chateau Haut Garrigue to experience a magic walk that includes snacks, wine & activities. A vineyard activity that is fun for families or friends. €10 per adult/ €5 per child. To use this marked walking route on our private vineyard please reserve ahead and sign in at the tasting room.
The Rando Apero offers a magic self- guided discovery walk of an organic vineyard. Take a relaxed stroll, settle down in the shade, discover what being organic and biodynamic means, read poetry, sketch, play...
In our apero pack you will find: your choice of wine, aperitifs (olives, crisps), water, fruit juice, a sketch pad, pencils & crayons, a book of poetry, a pack of cards, a wine game to test your knowledge and get the creative juices flowing, wine glasses, a bottle opener & a picnic blanket. The easy circular route is 1,5km.
'We spent over 2 hours on a 1.5Km walk which tells you we really enjoyed the experience. The pack with all the goodies and ideas of what to do en route was first class,' Glyn Taylor and friends
Our generous and creative visitors also contribute to Haut Garrigue poetry (please send us yours too):
"Chateau, Sentinel over her terroir
Chains of dripping gems falling away
Gnarled anchors seeking dry earth for life
Sun-kissed crowns guarding their bounty
Reaching high and tumbling around; a boisterous toddler
More friends seeding around and enriching the organic row
Ripening treasures for our pleasure
Nature and Wine Walking Trail Grand operning walk: proposed by 3 artisan winemakers in Saussignac
Les Sentiers du Vin Bio/ The Organic Vineyard Route 2009
Just over one hour’s drive from Bordeaux city and forty minutes from St Emilion lies the pocket-sized wine appellation of Saussignac, a commune within the greater Bergerac wine region. The organic vineyard route project has been initiated by three organic winegrowers in the commune. On Sunday June 14th these winegrowers offer a day of discovery and fun walking the organic vineyard route of Saussignac. On the route these passionate winemakers will explore the themes of organic farming, biodynamic farming and biodiversity. Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy an organic picnic in the garden of Chateau Maurigne near Razac de Saussignac. Guests will have the opportunity to taste and buy wines from the vineyards visited. The days starts at 9.30am at Chateau Haut Garrigue in Saussignac (900m from the village - email firstname.lastname@example.org for a map) and finishes after the picnic or at 5pm for those who wish to continue with the second half of the day. For english speaking participants a translation at each of the stops will be provided.
If you can’t make the 14 June, there are more opportunities to discover our organic walks. The walks will be marked and accessible to chateau visitors. During the summer from 9 July- 27 August every Thursday afternoon from 4pm visitors can reserve a guided walk with any of the participating estates. The three winegrowers will also offer two other organised group walks in the summer: Thursday 23 July 2009 & Thursday 6 August 2009. These will be mornings only with tasting at the end of the walk and picnicing possible at the vineyard.
Saussignac is a dessert wine appellation famous for its vinous bounty since medieval times when Rabelais, a renowned French writer penned his perspective on it. Approximately half of the winegrowing members of the Saussignac Producers Union are either organic or in conversion to organic. This sets a stark contrast to the national average for France of around 3% of wine growers. For locals and tourists seeking a nature friendly vineyard and wine route it presents the ideal place. The producers in the commune of Saussignac also make fine white, rosé and red wines under the greater Bergerac appellation. Along with great wines, a range of excellent accommodation can be found in the area.
This organic vineyard route is an occasion people to discover nature, organic practices and the riches of Saussignac, her people, landscape, architecture and wines. The walking routes are exceptional in their beauty and diversity. The routes offer breathtaking views over the Dordogne Valley and a varied landscape of vines, woods and meadows. They are also rich in architecture with an array of noteworthy castles, towers and fortresses. The walks are gentle but enchanting thanks to the elevated position above the Dordogne valley of the four communes of Saussignac.
9h30 : Meet at Chateau Haut Garrigue, 900m from Saussignac Village. Then we walk on to Chateau La Maurigne where we meet Patrick and Chantal Gérardin.
11h30: Aperitif offered by the winemakers at our picnic lunch stop
12h30: Organic picnic for those who reserve it (please email email@example.com to book yours) or bring your own.
14h30: Depart for Isabelle and Thierry Daulhiac at le Payral
17h00: Car-pooling by drivers to return walkers to Chateau Haut Garrigue where wine orders will be waiting with your car.
An easy excursion of about 8 km. Cost per adult: 10 euros including the organic picnic/ €4 excluding picnic. Children welcome & free for the walk - €6 for the picnic.
Practical information for tourists:
Saussignac is 1 hour 20 minutes drive from Bordeaux airport (direct flights from Dublin with Aer Lingus and from the UK with various operators) and 15 minutes drive from Bergerac Airport (direct flights from many UK airports and Amsterdam).
Contact (for press relevant photos are available in high resolution):
Caroline Feely: +33 (0)553 227271 or firstname.lastname@example.org (english)
Just over one hour’s drive from Bordeaux city and forty minutes from St Emilion lies our pocket-sized wine appellation of Saussignac, a commune within the greater Bergerac wine region. Saussignac is a dessert wine appellation famous for its vinous bounty since medieval times when Rabelais, a renowned French writer penned his perspective on it.
Les Sentiers du Vin Bio/ The Organic Vineyard Route 2008
Approximately half of the winegrowing members of the Saussignac Producers Union are either organic or in conversion to organic. This sets a stark contrast to the national average for France of less than 3% of wine growers. For locals and tourists seeking a nature friendly vineyard and wine route it presents the ideal place. The producers in the commune of Saussignac also make fine white, rosé and red wines under the greater Bergerac appellation. Along with great wines, a range of excellent accommodation can be found in the area.
The appellation of Saussignac has very rigorous conditions of production in order to create wines of great quality: hand harvesting in several careful passes through the vineyard, no chaptalisation (adding of sugar) and a very high natural sugar content at harvest (even higher than Sauternes). The search for quality, authenticity and expression of the terroir led many winegrowers here to adopt practices that respect the environment.
According to Thierry Daulhiac, winegrower and President of the Saussignac Appellation: ‘I went organic to gain a true expression of my terroir and out of respect for the environment. I am proud to represent an appellation where organic agriculture has so many followers. This organic vineyard route is an occasion people to discover nature and the riches of Saussignac, her people, landscape, architecture and wines.’
The dynamic team of the Saussignac Tourist office with the help of the Conseil Generale of the Dordogne have developed a selection of walking routes which total 55 kilometres across four communes by the AOC Saussignac. These walking routes are exceptional in their beauty and diversity. The routes offer breathtaking views over the Dordogne Valley and a varied landscape of vines, woods and meadows. They are also rich in architecture with an array of noteworthy castles, towers and fortresses. The walks are gentle but enchanting thanks to the elevated position above the Dordogne valley of the four communes of Saussignac.
The guides of the Saussignac Tourist Office offer their services to groups every Tuesday morning in the tourist season but the walking routes are open to the public at all times. A guide to the walking routes can be purchased from the tourist office or from the winemakers mentioned at the end of this press release.
On the route meet the passionate winemakers who can explore the themes of organic farming, biodynamic farming and biodiversity with you. Participating winemakers include: