The sowing of a vegetative cover, also called green manure, is an interesting and complementary work to the different practices in organic and biodynamic viticulture. The aim? To benefit the vine and the soil, while contributing to the balance of the ecosystem and the preservation of biodiversity. We explain what we expect from it and how we implement it.
Specifically, the idea is to sow species of plants between the rows of vines that, in synergy, have several roles to play
Fighting erosion by reducing runoff thanks to their ability to infiltrate water;
Improving the soil structure through the mechanical action of the roots, which loosens the soil to a depth of 1.5 m and improves the penetration of water and air;
Increase the biological activity of the soil by adding organic matter. Green manures stimulate the biological activity of the soil in a rapid way during their growth and especially after burial (however, fertilization is much more important with the contribution of organic matter through compost);
Favor biodiversity, especially thanks to flowering plants;
Inhibit the germination of weeds (plants that grow naturally but are a negative competition to the vine).
In short, the benefits are numerous and go beyond the high quality of the fruit harvested from healthy and strong vines in a balanced ecosystem.
We manage our vineyards by taking into account the characteristics of each plot (soil, slope, grape variety, etc.) and therefore the specific needs of each vine during its growth cycle, as well as the factors related to our oceanic climate and the specific weather conditions of the vintage. A strategy based on knowledge and observation, not left to chance and enriched by the experience of previous years.
From fall to spring,
the landscape of our vineyards reveals its cover
Our winegrowers sow at the end of the harvest, before the first frosts. The plants grow at their own pace for several months, then are buried between April and May. The soil under the row is maintained with a tool between the vines. Grasses, legumes and cruciferous plants are the winning trio to meet the different objectives. The mixtures we prefer? Vetch, which stimulates biological activity and has the advantage of being foraged by bees. Oats, rye and barley, which belong to the grass family and are rich in cellulose and lignin, which supply the soil with carbon. Lucerne (alfalfa), which structures the soil with its deep roots (up to 1.50 m) and contributes its share of nitrogen, a fertilizing element that stimulates the vine and the microbial life of the soil. Incarnate clover, which fixes nitrogen, is also a melliferous plant and plays an undeniable aesthetic role. Note that the influence on nitrogen is taken into account, but the fertilization is much more with the contribution of organic matter through the compost.
In addition, we also plant seedlings on fallow land when we renew the vine plantations. Fallow land planted with high doses for 3 years allows us to improve the soil structure, penetration and natural decompaction over about 1m.
As an integral part of a respectful agriculture, the plant cover emphasizes the restoration of local biodiversity, but above all the improvement of the quality of the soil in which our vines are rooted. It revitalizes our vineyard landscapes and gives rhythm to the seasons with a demanding and virtuous work of the soil. This essential work implies a permanent adaptation to the climatic elements and to the peculiarities of the plots. It represents a strong human and economic commitment for the benefit of the quality of the wines and the balance of the ecosystem.