Organic cultivation

Organic cultivation through the seasons

A good wine is the result of a whole year’s work. This is even more so for organically produced wines because we use no additives in the vinification process. The quality of our wines depends directly on the quality of the grape harvest. Here is a quick glimpse of a year of organic agriculture.

Hiver, détortillage de la vigne, Domaine GiachinoLate autumn and winter are devoted to clearing and maintaining the vineyards, pruning and unravelling the vines from their supports and building up protective banks. The end of the winter is when we repair the supporting structures (pickets, wires and fixtures), after which the vines must be bent and attached to the wires.

This is also the period during which we work in the wine cellars – tasks such as bottling and labelling the wines and attending trade fairs.

The sap begins to rise in spring. This is when we see the buds that will form new branches, then the leaves and lastly the flowers that will eventually become grapes. The new growth is susceptible to frosts right through to May, so this is when we work the soil, first creating mounds to protect the base of the vines and then removing them as the risk of frost passes.

As soon as it becomes warmer, the new branches grow very quickly so we need to tie in and prune this new growth, and maintain the grass verges separating each row of vines. Eventually we thin out the grapes since we value quality rather than quantity.

Rains bring the parasites and fungi to which vines are susceptible. We treat these in accordance with our respect for nature. The grapes require enough rain in order to swell, but on the other hand the violent rains and hailstorms that sometimes come at the end of the summer can spell disaster.

The grape harvest

Vendanges, Domaine GiachinoThe end of the summer and early autumn are devoted to the grape harvest, the final outcome of a year’s labour. Twelve months of sweat and toil along with taking any number of critical decisions in relation to the weather as well as diseases and parasites – all of these are the key to ensuring a harvest of sweet juicy grapes ...

We take about a month from the time when we start harvesting the early varieties, such as Gamay and Roussette, to the later varieties such as Jacquère and Mondeuse, so that we can be sure that each type of grape is at its ripest.

We pick the grapes by hand because this helps to ensure that they remain at their best through to when they are pressed. Manual harvesting also allows us to sort the grapes and keep only the finest quality. The final product, the wine, depends entirely on the quality of the grapes, so a harvest of good, healthy grapes is the key to a good wine – which is why we do not need to use any additives in the vinification process.