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What's with the sheep?

Regenerative viticulture describes a philosophy of regenerating the life and vibrancy of our soils to increase the microbial life and overall health of the land. It is now recognised as one of the best tools we have when it comes to climate action and the term includes all sorts of agriculture. The movement towards regenerative agriculture goes beyond that of organic practices, as only natural compost and manure is used for fertilisation and tilling is actively avoided in order to prevent the release of carbon dioxide, that's stored in the soil, into the atmosphere.

Biodiversity of plants and animals is crucial to the correct balance in a regenerative vineyard. When the sheep graze in our vineyards it helps to control the weed growth and their manure also provides natural fertiliser. Not tilling or turning over the soil (often employed in organic viticulture to control excessive weed growth) means that the soil retains the carbon dioxide stored within it, thus acting as a carbon sink. Minimising or eliminating inputs and avoiding disturbance of the soil increases its microbial content and further increases the capacity of the soil to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere. We are lucky that we are surrounded by wild garrigue, the native herbs and shrubs that dot the Languedoc landscape. These provide a haven for a multitude of insect and bird life, all of which enhance the natural biodiversity on our land. The vineyards around Château Auzines are also favoured by wild boar, who, although they may be too fond of grapes, have been equally important in maintaining the delicate balance of the eco-system of our land.

Henri, Laurent's father, always worked in this natural way - that is, he added nothing and took nothing away - and he doesn't see the need for the new scientific descriptions of today. However, the inherent understanding that in order to produce great wine you need a healthy soil has always been the basis of the work throughout the generations at Laurent Miquel, whether they had a term for it or not.  Maybe what Henri wouldn't have realised was that all his good work above the ground was having a beneficial effect below the ground in mitigating against the negative impact of climate change. We know that furthering our understanding will benefit our land, our grapes and our wines, but will also ensure that we leave a positive legacy for future generations.

A win-win for nature, for our planet and for quality wine 🌿🍷

A bientôt !

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