The biodynamic duo


Photograph: Jason Lowe

Fifth-generation winemakers Christine and Eric Saurel are the proprietors of the feted Domaine Montirius in Vacqueyras, as well as tireless crusaders of the biodynamic cause. Here, as we launch our Rhône 2015 offer, they reflect on the benefits of a healthy vineyard

We’ve been biodynamic on our family estate since 1996. We had already adopted homeopathic medicine for our private life, and switched to organic food to take care of our first child. We noticed after a year that we were all in much better health. When you realise the impact of all that you have discovered for your body, you can’t continue to go out into your vineyard and spray pesticides.

Meeting François Bouchet was an eye-opener. He was a consultant in biodynamics and changed our understanding of the vineyard, how to prune, why you leave the apex on the leaves, why you spray a certain preparation into the soil. You evolve in your mentality. He questioned the routines and traditions passed down through generations of winemakers.

We designed our cellar in accordance with the number of days of the harvest. So we chose to have 18 fermentation vats because we have 18 days of picking. This way, we are sure that when we put the grapes in a vat, they can take all the time they need to be perfect.

It was important for us that our cellar has the same “vibration” as the soil where it was built. So in the fresh cement we introduced some dynamised water, and earth from our terroir. That information then spreads out like ripples in a pond. For the tanks it was the same principle.

To guarantee you have in the bottle what you have from the vineyard, you must have no impurities in the process. The cellar is a cocoon for the wine and a continuation of the vineyard. We are focused on waiting; up until it is in the bottle, the wine has its own rhythm, not ours. If it’s necessary to wait a little bit longer to obtain the best result, our customers are ready to do this.

You need a third dimension in the wine and this is the light – the life of the wine. A wine should breathe into you, like oxygen. If the wine is alive with light, you will have that sensation in your body and this is key for us. This is the life you have in your soil, and how you respect the process from the grapes to the point when you put the wine into the bottle. It is the third dimension, between the grapes and the wine, with nothing added.

To explore our full range of 2015 wines from the Rhône, click here.