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BioEthik Passion ♥ August 2022

Updated: Mar 7


Dear friends, It’s been an exceptionally hot and dry month here in the Bordeaux region, as it has been elsewhere. I hope you’re keeping cool wherever you are and doing your bit, however small, to limit climate change. With global warming, we need to brace ourselves for more extreme weather events. On our biodynamic farm, we’re taking steps to protect our crops and animals in eco-friendly ways. From using white clay “sunscreen” to taking a surgical approach to mildew treatments, we’re keen to test and learn from promising new techniques that will help us adapt. You can read about some of them here. This month, you can also discover our recent ram swap and how lemon basil can keep mosquitoes at bay. Finally, I'm delighted to introduce you to BioEthik Bordeaux's distributor in NYC, as well as our vineyard dog. All the best, Vincent. “Let food be thy medicine” – Hippocrates


 

A dangerous reminder of climate change

A few weeks ago, as temperatures broke new records (42.4°C in the Gironde department), two forest fires caused devastating losses. More than 21,000 hectares burned on the Atlantic coast and inland on the left bank – fortunately for us, at a safe distance from our Château Mamin vineyard. (Château de Lardiley is on the right bank.) Similar weather-related wildfires have broken out across the world in a context of droughts and extreme heatwaves. We send our deepest sympathy to everyone impacted and sincere thanks to the emergency workers who have worked bravely to limit the damage.



 

Vineyards need sunscreen too!

You may remember we whitewashed our greenhouse earlier this summer (twice) to protect our plants from sun damage. In reaction to the extreme heat this year, we’ve also sprayed white clay on our vines – for the first time in my 40 years managing the farm. Kaolin clay forms a barrier that significantly reduces leaf temperature and sunburn. It also repels leafhoppers, pests that can similarly damage the leaves and delay fruit ripening. I’m pleased with the results of this organic treatment: veraison has started – the time when the grapes change color and are less susceptible to disease. That danger is now behind us!


 

Less is more eco-friendly when managing mildew

Our Château Mamin organic red wine mainly comes from Merlot grapes, which are particularly sensitive to mildew. This fungal infection dries the fruit and reduces yields, so prevention is key. But to respect the environment, we need to minimize our use of traditional “Bordeaux mixture” (water, copper sulfate and quicklime). This year, by watching the vines more closely, we’ve only sprayed 750 g/hectare, compared with the 3 kg/hectare authorized annually by Demeter’s biodynamic standards. The result: a negligeable attack of mildew – well below the damage threshold when grapes are discarded. We’ve also signed a partnership with BaaS, a biotech start-up specializing in early pathogen detection. With its scientific data, our treatments will be even more targeted and eco-friendly in 2023.

 

A ram swap before mating season

In July, we exchanged our two rams with males from other farms, as we do every year before the autumn mating season to avoid inbreeding and keep our flock strong.


We swap our animals through the Conservatoire des Races d’Aquitaine, an association working to protect local breeds, including the Landais sheep, Gascon chickens and Pyrenean donkeys you can find here on our farm. If you’re curious, pay a visit to the Conservatoire’s website (in French) to discover the animals and the association’s valuable work.


 

Bothered by mosquitoes? You’ll love our lemon basil!

A few weeks ago, we added lemon basil to our range of biodynamic, zero-waste fresh herbs. This fragrant plant is not only a wonderful ingredient in herbal teas, salads and other dishes, it’s a great insect repellant. Being rich in essential oil, lemon basil gives off a particularly strong aroma that keeps mosquitoes at bay.

No need for chemicals when nature’s on your side: just keep a few pots on your terrace or summer kitchen table!


 

Château Mamin in good hands in NYC!

We’re delighted that Savio Souares Selections has added Château Mamin, our organic red, to its collection of wines sold to restaurants and connaisseurs in New York. We feel at home: Savio, the founder, says his mission is to work with family-run estates with a philosophy of life that respects the biodiversity of the land and promotes harmony. Welcome, Savio and his team!


 

Love it!

A little hello from Rico, our faithful vineyard dog! We always know where to find him on the farm: he’s obsessed with our Gascon chickens…


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