Soil preservation is an essential issue in the winemaking of tomorrow: how biodynamic practices and horse plowing contribute to this at Domaine Leflaive.
"At Domaine Leflaive, all the vines are followed with the same attention to detail. The grapes are vinified identically, whether they are plots in the Burgundy appellation or in the Grand Cru. The wines, then, offer a very diverse palette, as well as various aptitudes for aging. It is good that the terroir makes a difference, through the constitution and composition of the soils," explains Brice de la Morandière.
How to work these soils to preserve them and to magnify the terroirs?
Solutions recommended by organic and biodynamic winemaking provide the first relevant answers: the absence of any chemical treatment is necessarily beneficial, as is the development of biodiversity with microfauna and microflora. Similarly, the grass in the vines protects against erosion... All this makes the soil more alive. Plowing practices also have a significant impact, with consequences on root growth and on the presence of organic matter.
Horse plowing practiced at the Domaine is not an artifice, it has an agronomic interest: it is more gentle and does not compact the soil. All you have to do is walk through the plots of Grands Crus or the Premier Cru Les Pucelles to feel that the earth is supple like a cotton mattress. The roots will more easily dive and explore the soil, the abundant rains will be absorbed, and erosion avoided.
To work the entire vineyard with horses, you would need a whole stable! An idea developed by the teams remedies this: implementing rotations. A horse year, a mechanical year, a year without any passage... It is also a way of adapting to the vintage: on a hot year, you have to work the soil less to keep the water; on a rainy year like 2021, we must control the weeds to avoid competition with the vines. Whatever the vintage calls for, we always respect the vine and work it with a limited number of means to allow nature to express itself.