Frédéric Albaret is a professional grass grower. This winemaker, based in Cabrerolles in the AOC Faugères, has decided to let the wild plants and grasses in and around his vineyards grow again. Together with five other winegrowers in the region, he has been testing this farming method for several years, accompanied by experts from the Ministry of Agriculture.
“In winter there are no problems, but in dry summers, the wild plants sometimes compete with the vines for water,” admits the winemaker who regularly goes with the mower through the vineyards. But the effort is worth it.
“Plowing and weed killers destroy the soil structure. The soils are doing well today and above all they are much more alive, full of worms and bacteria. “And that also benefits the wine quality.
“Our wines have become more complex, with much more character.”
Frédéric Albaret not only avoids glyphosate, but does not even touch a single chemical spray anymore. He’s very pleased to be able to drive again “through the vineyards with the windows open”. A decision that requires a lot of dedication and observation.
“If you renounce to pesticides, you must not even let plant diseases settle in the vineyard, since you have no way to intervene afterwards.” Today, he regularly sprays with copper and sulfur. The organic winegrower admits that yields went down at the beginning of the changeover. But today the Domaine Saint Antonin produces 100,000 bottles of wine on 30 hectares of vineyards.
“When we switched to organic farming in 2005 because we felt we could do better without poisoning ourselves and the environment, we were a little bit smiled at. Today we no longer are an exception. 90% of the wineries in our community are organic! “
Article from “La Gazette” – June 2018