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Writing the story

The conversion of Château Anthonic to organic viticulture officially started in August 2016. The conversion lasts three years, during which all practices and techniques are fully organic. However, the certification is still some way off, not before vintage 2019.

Thus, an exciting story begins, and is being recorded day by day, through our methods and with our team.

We wish to share with you as they unfold, the chapters of our adventure, and the implications of our conversion to the organic way of living.

Our communication is home-made, our photos and our videos are improvised as we work: there are no special effects!

A refuge for the reptiles of our hedges
Ajouté le 11 08 2018

Jean-Baptiste & Philomène have prepared a heap of stones as refuge for the reptiles living in our hedges through recycling pieces of limestone from a recently planted plot of vines. 

3rd year of conversion to organic viticulture!
Ajouté le 05 08 2018

We're now entering the 3rd year of the conversion to the organic viticulture for our whole vineyard.

This challenge isn't always easy (in particular because of the oceanic climate) but we are very happy with our choice, for example whe we see the numerous and beautiful butterflies dancing in our vines !

Agroforestry and biomass
Ajouté le 25 07 2018

A space of 4,5 meters has been left free in the midden of this recently planted plot of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Next autumn we're going to plant there a row of broad-leaves trees (mostly maple trees). Later they will be short pruned in order not to compete with the vines. 

This illustrates one of the advantages of agroforestry (planting trees in the vines): to produce, with the cut branches of the trees, biomass that will be transformed in humus, for a more living soil for the vines.

1st plantation in agroforestry
Ajouté le 28 06 2018

     Planting of our first parcel of vines in AGROFORESTRY, i.e. with trees.

     On the picture you can see that one row is missing in the middle. In autumn we'll plant there espaliered fruit trees. 

     The aims of the association vines/trees are in particular to give the protection of the trees to the vines (through mycorrhiza and micro-climate) and to the soils (fertility).

     It's also very gainful for the biodiversity, for example to give landmarks to bats that are also predators for some pests of the vines.

Wild orchids in our ditches
Ajouté le 20 05 2018

In this season lots of wild orchids are flowering in the ditches surrounding our vineyard, visible sign of biodiversity.

Here are some of them.

Nettles manure to stimulate the vines
Ajouté le 30 04 2018

It's not a soup but a nettles manure that Philippe is preparing on the picture!

He mixes the nettles he has mowed with water. The blend is then covered to ferment protected from light. After a few days it will be filtered and used diluted with the next treatment of the vines.

The aim of the nettles manure is to support the growth of the vines and stimulate the microorganisms (bacteria etc..) of the soil.

Exciting training day on the green work
Ajouté le 24 04 2018

Exciting training day for our team with Marceau Bourdarias on the "green work" (crown suckering, trimming of the vines). 

These spring work prepare actually already the pruning of next winter.

Marceau explained us how to favour the sustainability of the vineyard and the quality of the crops, notably with respect of the sap flux of the vines.

Green manure is also good for the bees !
Ajouté le 18 04 2018

    The green manure we have sown to structure, enrich and aerate the soil in the vines and therefore make it more alive is now in flowers. There are the mustard and its beautiful yellow flowers but also the broad bean whose flowers are probably delicious because they attract and treat a lot of bees. 

    At this time Anthonic rhymes with bucolic ! 

In spring the green manure becomes yellow!
Ajouté le 21 03 2018

The green manure we've planted in autumn (we explained why in the precedent news) is flourishing.

One of the plants of the blend we use as green manure is mustard that is now in this beautiful yellow blossom...

Planting of green manure
Ajouté le 30 10 2017

   This autumn we have sowed a green manure, each other row to let the tractor go on working on the row with grass.

   It’s a mixing of three types of plants (cereal, leguminous and cruciferous plants) whose effects on the ground and the vines are complementary.

   The goals of this planting are: to structure the ground, to enrich it with the nitrogen fixed by the leguminous plants and with the nutrient released by the cruciferous plants and to aerate it in depth thanks to the roots of these plants.

 

To treat the vine: problematic and organic option (PART 1)
Ajouté le 31 07 2017

   It’s a fact: diseases able to harm the vines do exist since the end of the 19th century. In the region of Bordeaux, the oceanic climate make the vine particularly sensitive to fungal diseases, mildew and powdery mildew, that are microscopic fungus affecting the leaves and/or the grapes.

   The vines must thus be treated; if not, there is no crop.

   The conventional option (that is not-organic) favours chemical treatments known as “systemic”, what means that they get into the sap of the plant. These products have an action on the plant for 15 days; thereafter, they must be renewed.

   The organic viticulture use only products that don’t stem from the chemical synthesis (for example the traditional “Bordeaux mixture”) and that are “contact products”, what means that they stay and protect the leaves and the grapes until they are “washed out” by an important rain.

   In the organic way, the frequency of treatments depends thus on the weather (more often, if they are more “washing out” rains) and on the stage of the growth of the vines (you should treat as long as new leaves come). If the summer is dry, it’s therefore useless to renew the protection when the growth of the vines is stabilized, that is, in general, end of July.

Emmanuel Chety, the new mister organic of Anthonic
Ajouté le 12 06 2017

 After 16 years of rigorous work at château Anthonic, Jean-Bernard Despatures, our technical manager, leaves us to become one of the partners of a winery in Belgium. He made possible our conversion to organic viticulture thanks to his precise knowledge of our vines and terroir and thanks to his enthusiasm. Thank you!

 Welcome to Emmanuel Chety who succeeds him. Emmanuel is a very curious man, always wishing to learn more and to get more training, and above all he is passionate about organic viticulture, that he knows well, as he has been practicing it for more than 6 years on the 40ha winery of his family.

 His experience will be precious for Anthonic during the delicate period of the conversion to organic.

Facing the damage of the frost with the organic attitude
Ajouté le 17 05 2017

 The frost ravaged almost 100% of our vineyard. Looking forward to the resumption of the activity of the vines and, perhaps, the emergence of new buds, what can we do?

 With Albane Bervas, our adviser for the organic, we discover the “organic-attitude”. Albane explains us that the vines, after such a stress, need the benevolent and friendly hand of the human being. She recommends us to have compassion for the vines and to trust them. This BIODYNAMIC APPROACH fill us with wonder. We understand that the conversion to organic is not only a paradigm shift (from healing to prevention); it’s also a life philosophy.

 In concrete terms, we’ve to be kindly in spirit with the vines and take care of their stress and our stress with the same infusion of valerian (see the picture!).

Organic or not, the same helplessness in front of the frost
Ajouté le 28 04 2017

 

The sexual confusion
Ajouté le 13 04 2017

 This year we initiate at château Anthonic sexual confusion. No obscenity but a good practice to avoid the use of insecticide against the worm of the cluster.

 Capsules scattered in the vineyard emit pheromones which cause confusion among the butterflies. Males and females of the 2 species laying on the vine are no longer able to locate them, which limits their reproduction. The bosses larvae on bunches are so limited. This avoids the driving of grains by the caterpillars and the problems of grey rot likely to settle on these wounds.

 At the end of the season the unsightly capsules are recovered.

In winter, what's new with the conversion?
Ajouté le 03 01 2017

  In fact, the conversion to organic viticulture has no impact on the usual work of the vines in winter, except that we prune them on a plowed soil. Now like before, the pruning work, with a careful respect of the structure of the vine stocks, keeps our team busy for nearly 4 months.

  The only effect of our conversion came oddly from our insurance agent, when we concluded our insurance against hail and frost. His reaction was timid and cautious. The discussion went about the potential increased risks due to the new way of growing.

  But, as always between people of good faith, we ended up finding a solution satisfactory for all.

 

Albane Bervas, our consultant for the conversion to organic
Ajouté le 08 12 2016

 To help us in the fundamental change of the conversion, we appeal to Albane Bervas, a specialist in organic viticulture.

 She comes to château Anthonic each month to watch our vines.

 Thanks to her experience and her passion for organic, she makes recommendations on the aspects we should pay attention to keep our vines healthy and surrounded by a living nature (fauna and flora).

Goodbye herbicides, hello hard work!
Ajouté le 16 11 2016

 The terroir of Château Anthonic is of clay-limestone. In these heavy soils, de-grassing was mainly necessary to enable the tractors to pass through the vineyards after rain.

 We rapidly evolved towards a natural grassing over between the rows in order to minimise herbicide use, which remained directly under the rootstocks only.

 From Autumn 2016 therefore, our organic conversion resulted in a return to fully working the soils under the vines.

 And now: action!

 

Organic put simply
Ajouté le 14 10 2016

 Understanding the conversion to organic viticulture engages a fundamental change, which could be expressed simply as a paradigm shift from healing to prevention.

 We abandon the logic of caring for our vines when they are sick, and we enter into a dynamic where our vines naturally regain their resistance to disease.

 The conversion period is therefore critically important because it is when the vine, deprived of synthesised chemical ‘help’, must rebuild its natural defences.

 It is a change of position, somewhat like the Little Owl we found in our son Henri’s room, with its head pointing to the floor!

Writing the story

The conversion of Château Anthonic to organic viticulture officially started in August 2016. The conversion lasts three years, during which all practices and techniques are fully organic. However, the certification is still some way off, not before vintage 2019.

Thus, an exciting story begins, and is being recorded day by day, through our methods and with our team.

We wish to share with you as they unfold, the chapters of our adventure, and the implications of our conversion to the organic way of living.

Our communication is home-made, our photos and our videos are improvised as we work: there are no special effects!

A refuge for the reptiles of our hedges
Ajouté le 11 08 2018

Jean-Baptiste & Philomène have prepared a heap of stones as refuge for the reptiles living in our hedges through recycling pieces of limestone from a recently planted plot of vines. 

3rd year of conversion to organic viticulture!
Ajouté le 05 08 2018

We're now entering the 3rd year of the conversion to the organic viticulture for our whole vineyard.

This challenge isn't always easy (in particular because of the oceanic climate) but we are very happy with our choice, for example whe we see the numerous and beautiful butterflies dancing in our vines !

Agroforestry and biomass
Ajouté le 25 07 2018

A space of 4,5 meters has been left free in the midden of this recently planted plot of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Next autumn we're going to plant there a row of broad-leaves trees (mostly maple trees). Later they will be short pruned in order not to compete with the vines. 

This illustrates one of the advantages of agroforestry (planting trees in the vines): to produce, with the cut branches of the trees, biomass that will be transformed in humus, for a more living soil for the vines.

1st plantation in agroforestry
Ajouté le 28 06 2018

     Planting of our first parcel of vines in AGROFORESTRY, i.e. with trees.

     On the picture you can see that one row is missing in the middle. In autumn we'll plant there espaliered fruit trees. 

     The aims of the association vines/trees are in particular to give the protection of the trees to the vines (through mycorrhiza and micro-climate) and to the soils (fertility).

     It's also very gainful for the biodiversity, for example to give landmarks to bats that are also predators for some pests of the vines.

Wild orchids in our ditches
Ajouté le 20 05 2018

In this season lots of wild orchids are flowering in the ditches surrounding our vineyard, visible sign of biodiversity.

Here are some of them.

Nettles manure to stimulate the vines
Ajouté le 30 04 2018

It's not a soup but a nettles manure that Philippe is preparing on the picture!

He mixes the nettles he has mowed with water. The blend is then covered to ferment protected from light. After a few days it will be filtered and used diluted with the next treatment of the vines.

The aim of the nettles manure is to support the growth of the vines and stimulate the microorganisms (bacteria etc..) of the soil.

Exciting training day on the green work
Ajouté le 24 04 2018

Exciting training day for our team with Marceau Bourdarias on the "green work" (crown suckering, trimming of the vines). 

These spring work prepare actually already the pruning of next winter.

Marceau explained us how to favour the sustainability of the vineyard and the quality of the crops, notably with respect of the sap flux of the vines.

Green manure is also good for the bees !
Ajouté le 18 04 2018

    The green manure we have sown to structure, enrich and aerate the soil in the vines and therefore make it more alive is now in flowers. There are the mustard and its beautiful yellow flowers but also the broad bean whose flowers are probably delicious because they attract and treat a lot of bees. 

    At this time Anthonic rhymes with bucolic ! 

In spring the green manure becomes yellow!
Ajouté le 21 03 2018

The green manure we've planted in autumn (we explained why in the precedent news) is flourishing.

One of the plants of the blend we use as green manure is mustard that is now in this beautiful yellow blossom...

Planting of green manure
Ajouté le 30 10 2017

   This autumn we have sowed a green manure, each other row to let the tractor go on working on the row with grass.

   It’s a mixing of three types of plants (cereal, leguminous and cruciferous plants) whose effects on the ground and the vines are complementary.

   The goals of this planting are: to structure the ground, to enrich it with the nitrogen fixed by the leguminous plants and with the nutrient released by the cruciferous plants and to aerate it in depth thanks to the roots of these plants.

 

To treat the vine: problematic and organic option (PART 1)
Ajouté le 31 07 2017

   It’s a fact: diseases able to harm the vines do exist since the end of the 19th century. In the region of Bordeaux, the oceanic climate make the vine particularly sensitive to fungal diseases, mildew and powdery mildew, that are microscopic fungus affecting the leaves and/or the grapes.

   The vines must thus be treated; if not, there is no crop.

   The conventional option (that is not-organic) favours chemical treatments known as “systemic”, what means that they get into the sap of the plant. These products have an action on the plant for 15 days; thereafter, they must be renewed.

   The organic viticulture use only products that don’t stem from the chemical synthesis (for example the traditional “Bordeaux mixture”) and that are “contact products”, what means that they stay and protect the leaves and the grapes until they are “washed out” by an important rain.

   In the organic way, the frequency of treatments depends thus on the weather (more often, if they are more “washing out” rains) and on the stage of the growth of the vines (you should treat as long as new leaves come). If the summer is dry, it’s therefore useless to renew the protection when the growth of the vines is stabilized, that is, in general, end of July.

Emmanuel Chety, the new mister organic of Anthonic
Ajouté le 12 06 2017

 After 16 years of rigorous work at château Anthonic, Jean-Bernard Despatures, our technical manager, leaves us to become one of the partners of a winery in Belgium. He made possible our conversion to organic viticulture thanks to his precise knowledge of our vines and terroir and thanks to his enthusiasm. Thank you!

 Welcome to Emmanuel Chety who succeeds him. Emmanuel is a very curious man, always wishing to learn more and to get more training, and above all he is passionate about organic viticulture, that he knows well, as he has been practicing it for more than 6 years on the 40ha winery of his family.

 His experience will be precious for Anthonic during the delicate period of the conversion to organic.

Facing the damage of the frost with the organic attitude
Ajouté le 17 05 2017

 The frost ravaged almost 100% of our vineyard. Looking forward to the resumption of the activity of the vines and, perhaps, the emergence of new buds, what can we do?

 With Albane Bervas, our adviser for the organic, we discover the “organic-attitude”. Albane explains us that the vines, after such a stress, need the benevolent and friendly hand of the human being. She recommends us to have compassion for the vines and to trust them. This BIODYNAMIC APPROACH fill us with wonder. We understand that the conversion to organic is not only a paradigm shift (from healing to prevention); it’s also a life philosophy.

 In concrete terms, we’ve to be kindly in spirit with the vines and take care of their stress and our stress with the same infusion of valerian (see the picture!).

Organic or not, the same helplessness in front of the frost
Ajouté le 28 04 2017

 

The sexual confusion
Ajouté le 13 04 2017

 This year we initiate at château Anthonic sexual confusion. No obscenity but a good practice to avoid the use of insecticide against the worm of the cluster.

 Capsules scattered in the vineyard emit pheromones which cause confusion among the butterflies. Males and females of the 2 species laying on the vine are no longer able to locate them, which limits their reproduction. The bosses larvae on bunches are so limited. This avoids the driving of grains by the caterpillars and the problems of grey rot likely to settle on these wounds.

 At the end of the season the unsightly capsules are recovered.

In winter, what's new with the conversion?
Ajouté le 03 01 2017

  In fact, the conversion to organic viticulture has no impact on the usual work of the vines in winter, except that we prune them on a plowed soil. Now like before, the pruning work, with a careful respect of the structure of the vine stocks, keeps our team busy for nearly 4 months.

  The only effect of our conversion came oddly from our insurance agent, when we concluded our insurance against hail and frost. His reaction was timid and cautious. The discussion went about the potential increased risks due to the new way of growing.

  But, as always between people of good faith, we ended up finding a solution satisfactory for all.

 

Albane Bervas, our consultant for the conversion to organic
Ajouté le 08 12 2016

 To help us in the fundamental change of the conversion, we appeal to Albane Bervas, a specialist in organic viticulture.

 She comes to château Anthonic each month to watch our vines.

 Thanks to her experience and her passion for organic, she makes recommendations on the aspects we should pay attention to keep our vines healthy and surrounded by a living nature (fauna and flora).

Goodbye herbicides, hello hard work!
Ajouté le 16 11 2016

 The terroir of Château Anthonic is of clay-limestone. In these heavy soils, de-grassing was mainly necessary to enable the tractors to pass through the vineyards after rain.

 We rapidly evolved towards a natural grassing over between the rows in order to minimise herbicide use, which remained directly under the rootstocks only.

 From Autumn 2016 therefore, our organic conversion resulted in a return to fully working the soils under the vines.

 And now: action!

 

Organic put simply
Ajouté le 14 10 2016

 Understanding the conversion to organic viticulture engages a fundamental change, which could be expressed simply as a paradigm shift from healing to prevention.

 We abandon the logic of caring for our vines when they are sick, and we enter into a dynamic where our vines naturally regain their resistance to disease.

 The conversion period is therefore critically important because it is when the vine, deprived of synthesised chemical ‘help’, must rebuild its natural defences.

 It is a change of position, somewhat like the Little Owl we found in our son Henri’s room, with its head pointing to the floor!

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