Situated as it is at Wintzenheim, near Colmar, our Domain has the benefit of an exceptional micro-climate and one of the lowest annual rainfall in the whole of France. The Domain extends to some 28 hectares (28% Riesling, 24% Pinot Blanc & Auxerrois, 21% Pinot Gris, 19% Gewurztraminer et 10% pour les Sylvaner, Muscat & Pinot Noir) and has always been cultivated with respect for nature.
Towards the end of the nineties, the vineyards were turned over to fully organic and bio-dynamic culture. In 2004 we received the AB (agriculture biologic) certification. This alternative route, more demanding and expensive than conventional viticulture, allows man to work in harmony with the sky, the earth and the vines. This close relationship between these four elements produces superb grapes which, in their turn, give birth to deep, balanced wines with a unique personality.
This balance of sky to earth to plant to man is the result of careful and conscientious work in the vineyard based on these 4 essential elements.
1°. Respect for the soil and fertilisation
Not merely a support, a well-balanced and living soil is essential for plants to flourish in harmony with natures rhythms. We work the soil to optimise the inter-relationship of air and water. One row of vines in two is left to develop naturally to produce a greater diversity of flora and fauna. Furthermore the competition from other plants that develop as a result of this practice encourages the vines to send roots deeper into the soil for nourishment.
We prepare our own biodynamic compost which we use in the Autumn in small quantities (1 to 3 tonnes/hectare) and this encourages a rich and varied range of micro-organisms. Vines thus cultivated are able to express the character of the terroir naturally.
To achieve maximum diversity and complexity of fruit we only plant vines grafted from our very best old vines. We pay particular attention to the way the grafts adapt to the particular soil and climate where they are planted. Our minimum planting density is 5200 to the hectare which we view as the minimum for the full expression of the mineral complexity of our terroir. Equally we give our young vines all the time they need to root properly to ensure both quality and longevity.
3°. Care of the vines
Instead of the systematic use of chemicals, which behave very much in the same way as antibiotics in humans with all the problems that brings, we use plants and preparations to help the vines find their natural balance. We use concoctions of nettles, willow and horsetail as a kind of herbal « tea » in order to reduce the need for copper and sulphur. These preventive measures, given in rhythm with the phases of the moon, help to reinforce the vines natural immunity. Topping is only carried out once the new growth is developed in order to avoid the growth of secondary buds and thus to develop a natural, open and airy canopy.
4°. The Grapes
Our work as wine - grower is to ensure that every one of our 150,000 vines our encouraged to bring to each of their grapes, their children, all the unique characteristics of our terroirs. It is only once all these elements have come to full maturity that we start our picking which is entirely carried out by hand.
Thus begins the delicate work of raising these elements, through fermentation and all the many processes needed to the eventual birth of our unique and inimitable wines. With no additions of yeast, sugar or enzymes, our vinification has the sole aim of bringing the grape to the bottle in a wine to enjoy throughout its life.