Wine making and farming?

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G. Greenbaum
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Wine making and farming?

#1 Post by G. Greenbaum » January 30th, 2012, 12:11 pm

Bonjour Guillaume!

Thank you for taking the time to be a guest. I've enjoyed a few MIchel wines and look forward to some bottles I have in the cellar.

I would like to hear your philosophy on farming. If you could detail your ideas on: organic/biodynamic, use of sulpher/fertilizers/pesticides in the vineyard, types of root stocks, etc....

In terms of the winemaking, please discuss your philosophy on use of sulpher in the winery, pressing techniques, type(s) of yeast: native vs cultured, battonage, malolactic fermentation, etc...
Regards,
Gregg


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Alan Rath
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Re: Wine making and farming?

#2 Post by Alan Rath » January 30th, 2012, 5:01 pm

I'm also very interested in these topics. In particular, is it really possible for different producers to farm differently within a single vineyard? Can one grower be biodynamic, or organic, when others are not?
Thank you very much for participating!
Regards,
Alan

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Frank Murray III
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Re: Wine making and farming?

#3 Post by Frank Murray III » January 30th, 2012, 5:25 pm

I too would like to hear Guillaume's response here. To Alan's point, if several domaines or vintners are using the same climat or plot, and two of them may have differing views on farming, how does the guy who chooses to go in an organic or bio direction deal with someone whose rows may butt up against the guy who sprays or approaches his rows/plot in a different fashion?
My best wines of 2018:
2013 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grand Cellier d'Or
2015 Kutch Sonoma Coast PN
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay
2012 Savart Expression Nature Ecueil
2010 Tercero Verbiage (Rouge) Santa Barbara County

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Guillaume Michel
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Re: Wine making and farming?

#4 Post by Guillaume Michel » February 1st, 2012, 6:22 am

We could talk forever on this topic!

It's in the vineyard that the wine is made. If you did a good job in the vineyard, then 90% of the job is done after harvesting.

Our philosophy is simple. We want the best expression of each terroir. The cultural practices on our Petit Chablis or our Grand Crus are the same, just like for the vinification. We are not a domaine that is organic or biodynamic certified, but because we want spontaneous fermentations with wild yeasts, we need to take care of them when they develop on the grapes... So every decision in the vineyard is important.

You always need to see the vine as a part of an environment, not just as a plant. And you have to know where you want to go when you make a decision in the vineyards (effect on the plant? the soil? the quality of the grapes?)
You see, the environment of the vine is important. We try to encourage life in our soils by using organic fertilizers, we prefer ploughing rather than spraying weed killers to maintain biodiversity, and we fight against Botrytis with rigorous work on the vines (minimising yields when pruning, bud-rubbing, shoot removal...). The aim is to increase grape aeration and to avoid the use of anti-botrytis products.

In our winery, we want the minimum intervention and we vinify all our wines in the same way: natural yeast fermentation, spontaneous malolactic fermentation, and a soft maturing on fine lees. No discrimination between ourwines. "Petit Chablis" tank and the "Grenouilles" tank will have the same treatment. Of course it's longer. See the 2011 : the fermentation (alcool + malo) is finished since mid-january. We'll rack the wines next week and see how long we keep it on lees, probably not too long this year, because we want our wine to be fresh and clean. That's also why we do not do battonage. We do not do cold stabilization either, we prefer the softer technique which consists in opening the doors of the winery in the winter! It's a bit less efficient, but much better for the wine. Fining is not systematic, it depend on the vintage. We do it if we need to. And as far as filtration is concerned, we do just one rough filtration at the end, just before bottling. We do the bottling at the estate, with our own machine.

And of course, no oak, since 1969!

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G. Greenbaum
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Re: Wine making and farming?

#5 Post by G. Greenbaum » February 3rd, 2012, 9:27 am

This is very encouraging and I believe a very prudent way to look at winmaking and farming. Could you please touch on your sulphur regiment? Are you using any sulphur in the vineyard? Sulphur additions after fermentation and/or just at bottling?

Once again, merci beaucoup, for taking the time to be with us. I'm certain we are all appreciative of the efforts you are taking to make what you feel are the best possible wines you can produce. I look even more forward to tasting the '08 & '10 Chablis from Domaine Louis Michel.
Regards,
Gregg


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Guillaume Michel
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Re: Wine making and farming?

#6 Post by Guillaume Michel » February 3rd, 2012, 12:24 pm

We do use sulphur in the vineyard because it's efficient to fight against fungal diseases.

During the vinification, we use sulphur regularly. But because we do not move a lot our wines, and because they are in stainless steel tanks, we can use low quantities. Roughly we have 3 or 4 sulphur ajustments from must to wine, including the one just before bottling.

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G. Greenbaum
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Re: Wine making and farming?

#7 Post by G. Greenbaum » February 3rd, 2012, 1:59 pm

Have you experimented with less sulphur use in the winery or possibly using only a small adition before bottling? I am more and more impressed with the differences between wines receiving several sulphur adjustments as opposed to wines receiving only a small dose (roughly 25 mg/l for whites) at bottling or no sulhur at all. There is a striking difference in purity. Long term aging aside, it is quite remarkable to expereince.
Regards,
Gregg


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