In the Vines

Working the vines is the biggest part of Fabien’s work.

According to Fabien, "To make a good wine, you need to have good grapes. Nature does the rest. A Maître de Chai is first and foremost a wine-grower, more so with Biodynamic farming."

The largest part of his work takes place in the vines, learning to understand, recognize and anticipate what the vines need according to the climate, weather and lunar calendar.

To better understand the vine’s lifecycle and the work of the wine-grower, here’s a short immersion into our vines.



The end of the summer approaches. Short walks around the vineyard become a daily occurrence to observe the maturity of the grapes.     Starting in the last week of the month, we take samples of the grapes and seeds. Random samples of grape bunches are also done to analyse different parameters of the harvest: sugar amount and acidity.


The month of Consecration, of festivals for wine-growers, when the entire year’s work is going to be rewarded.
We closely watch the lunar calendar to optimize the date of harvest. Harvesting is planned for night-time in order to gather cool grapes, which reduces oxidization. We pick the grapes at a good, rather early  ripeness to have a good acidity and wines that are balanced, fruity and refreshing.
90% of wine-making secrets and results depend on grape quality. We can’t produce good wine without beautiful grapes. Harvest starts at the beginning of September, typically ending in mid-October.


The grape harvest is finished. In the vines, we spread the essential biodynamic mix called 500P. It is fermented horn manure, which helps microbial life in the soil as well as the structure and development of humus (i.e., organic soil material). It supports root growth development. This mix is galvanized for an hour.


At the beginning of the year, the vineyard, which let all of its leaves fall, is bare again. Pruning starts for a period that lasts several months. This includes preparing and selecting the vine shoots, where the clusters of grapes will develop. This stage is vital with great care taken at this point. We watch and follow the plants to help their development. Winter follows and puts the vines to sleep. Sap is in the roots and a lovely cover of plants develops on the rich soil.


Nature slowly starts to reawaken. Insects, birds and small wildlife rediscover their activities. At this time, as needed, we spread compost over our vineyard to help earthworms produce humus.


Spring arrives. The vines start to wake up again and become active. Sap rises and the vines begin to cry. Vine shoots fill with sap and let their “tears of vitality” fall. The buds start to inflate to hatch in April. We spread another mix of 500P to stimulate the fauna and regenerate the soil for the season.


The first leaves develop. We work the soil with the help of ploughs. We bury the grass, returning it to the earth, which provides a natural green fertilizer and to aerate the soil that’s been revitalized during winter.


It’s a sensitive month! We watch the lovely shoots and flowering that leads to small clusters forming. These clusters will develop until Autumn.


Along with copper and sulphur, we prepare infusions of nettles, chamomile, dandelion, horsetail, yarrow and wicker to help vines defend against certain diseases.
These recipes are closely guarded and evolve over the season depending on the vine’s needs and the wine-grower’s intuition. The cooperation between wine-grower, vine and terroir is primordial. It creates a complete symbiosis and well-being for the plant. A preparation is regularly spread during the vine’s lifecycle. This is 501, or silica quartz. It improves photosynthesis, helps the plant balance its growth and fight disease. Use of 501 is alternated with 500P.


Towards the end of July, we start seeing ripening. The grapes start to change colour, ripening and loading the berries up little by little with sugar. The wine-growing cycle is reaching its end. Nectar starts to be produced. The lunar calendar had been watched throughout the year to maximize production throughout all activities from the vineyard to the cellar. This is the moment that all the work that has been done can be seen: Observation, Respect and Sharing among the wine-grower, earth, its terroir, sky, moon and vine.

90% of the wine-making process secrets and results depend on the quality of the grapes. We can’t make good wine without beautiful grapes.