It wasn’t enough to put all the efforts in to make the best wine possible, I had decided from the start, to only use organic products during vine-growing. Soil sampling had to be conducted during the first months after the purchase of the Domain, or rather, the purchase of that thing which was in a serious state of dereliction. We needed to know if the soil had been polluted by chemical treatments from a previous owner or if the soil was good enough after a 4-year period without vines being used at all.
Luckily enough, not a single trace of chemicals was left in the soil. Thus, I would be able to use organic products to treat and feed old vines as well as new ones. I never had the time to initiate the organic certification process. I must admit that there were so many things to actually do, like restructuring the vineyard and intense construction work, that I wasn’t really excited by the idea to put any time aside to fill certification paperwork.
I knew I was already using organic products. I used to print on the back label that my wines were made from a process devoid of chemical products, thinking it could be enough for some time. But in 2009, pressured by some of my customers encouraging and convincing me of the necessity to have the Organic Certification, I took the necessary steps. This would allow me to print the famous AB logo on all our marketing collateral and on the bottle labels.
I had to wait for 3 years, starting in 2010, a period of ‘organic reconversion‘, now made mandatory by certification companies so that soils being treated using chemicals had time to naturally get rid of all traces of pesticide and other harmful products. Three years to get, at last, the famous ORGANIC-certified label. I can tell you that, when I received the certificate validating my wines as organic, I was very happy. I found the logo itself to be beautiful, with its stunning shade of green and the superb design of the AB letters. Anyway, I might be a bit too enthusiastic on this, but I think you got the point… I was extremely happy.
From this moment on, I was able to attend fairs dedicated to organic wines and sell said wines into organic-only shops.
I also started to get my wines into competitions. At least, those I could include because most competitions require wine samples to be sent around December or January. Pushing my wines too hard during the winemaking process to get them into competition in time was NEVER something I had in mind; so I could only participate in late competitions because my wines are bottled around March. Not in December!!!! Someone will have to explain to me, one day, how it is possible to have one’s winemaking process entirely finished by December… when the harvest occurred in September. In any case, as far as I am concerned, I’m letting the winemaking process occur naturally without rushing it and that’s precisely why I am not introducing my wines to all competitions.
This does not prevent me from getting medals each time my wines enter a competition.
This is a subject of great pride too!!! Whatever one might say, when you receive a letter confirming your wine has earned a medal – and a great one at that GLOD or SILVER – you are proud. (I must say I dod prefer when it’s a GOLD medal, and some people might say that women love shiny things, but that would just demonstrate their bad disposition indeed)
See you next week, for a new chapter of my story.
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Adapted from the original French by Yann Sicamois.