In 1985, Dominique Lelarge took over his family estate and decided to go towards a more sustainable farming approach. The realization of how dangerous the use of pesticide is to nature and mankind was a wake-up call. This started his commitment to reducing the use of any chemical product in the vineyard.
“Life is a gift from Nature”, Dominique keeps introducing new methods in the vineyard in order to create a natural balance between the environment, the vineyard and terroir.
By 2000, Dominique decided to stop the use of insecticides in order to reestablish the natural cycle of predatory wildlife in his vineyard such as ladybugs and lacewing larvae regulating spiders and caterpillars.
Following this decision, he dramatically reduced the use of fungicides and herbicides, and started growing grass between the vines for cover crop and to experiment new techniques in ploughing.
As time moved forward, research, common sense, a genuine concern for the next generations and a desire to let nature take its course, pushed the winery to seek the European ORGANIC farming certification with ECOCERT. Dominique uses trace elements, sulfur and copper to fight diseases. A horse ploughs parcels in order to avoid compaction. We practice the green harvest with all of the work taking place in the vineyard done meticulously and methodically.
Because of this extraordinary effort, all of the Champagne and wines out of the 2015 harvest will be 100% certified organic.
This commitment to sustainable agriculture led us to learn and discover more bout organic farming. We attended a variety of classes by agrobiologists like Claude Bourguignon, a specialist in soil microbiology; Dominique Massenot, who develops the Herody method to nurture the plant; Pierre Masson for the biodynamic principles and even Eric Petiot for aromatherapy which uses of essential oils and plants to protect vines against disease. We have also started experimenting with some of our parcels in coordination with students from the Chamber of Commerce and the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC).
“We do not make wine, we farm the vines, meticulously look at every single step of the wine growing to produce the most natural champagne expressing the taste of terroir.
Biodynamie appeared to us as a necessity. A necessity to make terroir driven wines. We are trying to achieve a connection between the vines and the earth, the solar/lunar forces in order to have the roots dig as deep as they can.
We began initial trails in biodynamics in 2014 and applied for the DEMETER certification.
By practicing biodynamie, we
Plough our parcels with a horse (25% of the estate)
Respect living organisms
Follow the lunar calendar
Make our own yeast
We limit the use of intrants to practically zero, only using this method if completely necessary
Use small amounts of sulfur and copper
Apply the biodynamic preparations; 500, 500p et 501 and use the herbal teas spread; 500, 502, 503, 504, 505, 507
Nurture and reinforce the vines with essential oils, compost and decoctions of plants
Listen to the vineyard
Harvest by hand
Express the terroir of Vrigny and the vintage
Produce natural, authentic and enjoyable wines