Regenerative Agriculture - what is it?
As 8th generation wine growers, we think of ourselves as guardians of the land. In light of the urgency of the climate crisis, we began 2023 with a commitment to try to do even more in terms of our sustainability efforts. We are HVE Level 3 certified and have reduced our CO2 emissions with various initiatives in the winery and wine packaging (see blog post), but Laurent is never one to sit still.
We know that to produce the very best quality from our vineyards, looking after the land has to be our top priority. Henri Miquel, Laurent's father, has always worked to the philosophy that less is more, instinctively understanding that a healthy soil gives the best quality grapes. What we now know is that this type of farming can actually help to mitigate against climate change because healthy, living soils absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it (known as sequestering carbon) - a term now known as regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture refers to a circular process which focuses on maintaining or restoring soil to a healthy, vibrant state of alive-ness that teems with microbial life. We have always managed our estate vineyards in this way, but we are going further in order to do better. We have expanded our technical team in the vineyard to monitor our vineyards, log our data and work to improve our soil health year-on-year. We will keep you updated on our learnings, challenges and progress over the coming months.
There are 4 key practices to regenerative agricultural practices:
Planting Cover Crops
Planting Perennials & Trees
Integration of animals for composting and grazing
We continue to focus on reducing what we put into the soil, but we also have the important objective of increasing the microbial content of our soils. We aim to protect and increase the biodiversity around our 270 hectares of vines and have begun a review of our technical itineraries, with a view to further reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint. This means we will be recording our efforts in order to monitor our progress, and any positive impact on our soils.
Our efforts will continue to focus on:
Using mainly organic fertilising materials
The integration of pasture within our vineyard estates
Elimination of phytosanitary products
The establishment of more plant covers and cover crops
Introduce a new programme for the preservation and replanting of our hedges and forests with native species.
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*Kiss the Ground, a movie narrated by and featuring Woody Harrelson, is a hopeful documentary on the power of regenerative agriculture to mitigate against climate change caused by global warming.