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BioEthik Passion ♥ June-July 2023

Updated: Mar 7

Dear friends,

Farming is not for the faint-hearted, especially when you don’t take the easy way out with ecosystem-destroying chemicals. This year, organic and biodynamic winegrowers are having to work especially hard to stop mildew obliterating our crops, but it’s the price to pay for a sustainable future.

Despite my efforts, I’ve lost around 60% of my Château Mamin merlot, which is a sad score, but many colleagues in the region have lost much more in one of the worst ever years for mildew. I’m convinced my vineyard DNA testing with BaaS has helped stem the damage by warning me very early on about the intensity of the disease.

We’ll need to adapt to climate change in the coming years to keep producing fine wines, so I’m looking into rebalancing my grape varieties.

On a lighter note, in this newsletter, you can read about imperfectly perfect vegetables and our sheep, who sometimes wander off the farm. You can also see a photo taken at Le Chai, the venue of our upcoming farm restaurant, and a quick video of a rabbit hopping around one of our vineyards.

Many thanks for your continued support and all the best for this summer!


“Let food be thy medicine” – Hippocrate


A terrible year for mildew

Would you believe me if I said I was happy to have lost 60% of my merlot grapes to powdery mildew this year? It’s a lot, but it’s also not much when many of my neighbors have lost everything.

Regular rain, high humidity and oscillating temperatures are making wine-growing conditions particularly challenging this year, particularly for organic and biodynamic producers who rely on traditional “Bordeaux mixture” to keep mildew at bay.

Thanks to my partnership with BaaS, a start-up specializing in early pathogen detection through DNA analyses, I’ve been able to monitor the spread of mildew before damage is visible and take early action. This said, I haven’t been able to stop the contagion on some plots and I’ll be thinking about rebalancing the grape varieties to adapt to climate change. It’s hard work treating the vines with minimal doses of copper sulfate several times a week but worth it. When you pour a glass of Château Mamin or Château de Lardiley, you can truly taste nature… and know you’ve done your bit to protect it by supporting eco-friendly farming.

Beauty lies in imperfection

Growing your own vegetables is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures, as I’m discovering this year. My team and I started planting this spring on a plot of land opposite our greenhouse in Saint-Germain-de-Grave. We’re focusing on quality, with organic/biodynamic heritage varieties, weekly hand-weeding and minimal watering to avoid diluting the flavor.

Like grapes, vegetables grow better outside than in a greenhouse, expressing their full aromatic potential in rich soil and a non-linear climate. Any marks caused by the rain are signs of quality. (Tomatoes, for example, can split open in places.) Remember this when you’re shopping for produce!

Why sheep wander

Sheep are gentle creatures and they’re also very smart. When, from time to time, they stage a break-out from the farm, it’s always for a good reason! It could be that we’ve delayed moving them to fresh pastures so they’ve taken matters into their own hands (or rather trotters). Or recently, we discovered they’d been escaping from the path of wild boars. We’re learning with them… They should be settled for the summer now, as we’ve just moved them to a lush and shady field. Then they’ll be back to the vineyards in the fall.

Cupboard love

My plans for a new farm restaurant are coming along more slowly than expected, the vineyard mildew situation being partly to blame. But bit by bit, things are falling into place with a new bar and an impressive custom-built hood for the indoor barbecue. As I hope you’ll soon discover, Le Chai is an incredible location, with cathedral ceilings and history in every corner.

One of the items I inherited from my mother is a beautiful “armoire bordelaise” or a three meters tall 18th-century mahogany cupboard, and it’s full of family china I’ll be using to serve my guests. I hope you’ll feel at home!

Love it!

Here’s a bunny I spotted a few months ago while on my tractor. It always makes my day!

Embark on our innovation venture!

Want to know how DNA testing can help control mildew and reduce the use of fungicide? Follow our weekly report!

Fresh from the farm

For our fresh herbs and Gascon eggs, please contact us.

Thanks for reading! Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you.

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