Located between Dunham and Frelighsburg and overlooking Lake Selby, our hillside estate has been a prized fruit growing site for over a century. Our slope is South-Eastern facing and varies between 5 and 15%, which naturally favours the early morning sun and downflow of cold air, protecting us from spring frosts.
Our soil is composed of glacial sediment deposited and organised during the melting of the continental ice sheet over 10 000 year ago. The flow of water and time has sorted this sediment according to altitude and topography. At 250 meters we have a predominantly sandy loam whereas at 200 meters, our vines have a bit of clay to dig their roots into. Our soil structure is such that it drains quite well, and our vines never have wet feet.
The bedrock, a thick and impenetrable Cambrian schist, is never very far and in some areas brushes the surface. This limits the downward growth of the vine roots and therefore their access to water during summer droughts, which favours fruit ripening and limits excessive vegetation.
That being said, we are more concerned about the life in our soil than its geology as our activity actually has an impact on that. It is our belief that to make vibrant terroir driven wines you need to have rich and flavourful grapes, which can only be attained with live soils.
It's quite simple: good grapes make good wine. This is why we concentrate so much of our efforts in the vineyard. In the cellar, we favour a natural expression of our grapes, so no hightech or weird additives and minimal to no sulfites when possible, no standardisation. Each cuvée reveals its expression of time and place in its own way.
Business as usual is no longer an option, any modern organization, especially in agriculture, needs to assess its environmental impact and have a sustainability strategy that goes beyond marketing and rhetoric. We currently are not certified because we do not believe that the current available certifications concur with our vision of environmental sustainability. We are hopeful that our vision and values can be appreciated by our customers through word of mouth and via our communications.
In essence, we are in a perpetual state of observation of our surroundings, and we adapt our practices according to our values.
We do not use any herbicides, carcinogenic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Native plants or cover crops grow between our rows to prevent erosion, feed our soils and sequester carbon. As for the vine rows, they are mechanically and hand weeded. When needed our vines are fed manures, compost tea or nitrogen fixing cover crops. Our pruning woods are ground up in place and not burned. Natural hedges filled with wild flowers surround our fields providing a habitat for beneficial insects and birds of all kind.
Our vines replaced very old apple orchards from which we saved all of the precious wood. Our buildings and water will be heated with this wood for the next decade with the help of a very efficient boiler system.
Wine packaging is where the bulk of the carbon footprint lies. This is mostly due to the energy needed to melt and ship glass bottles. We therefore use only lightweight glass. We also prefer cork instead of aluminum screwcaps as cork is sustainably produced and has a low carbon footprint.
Finally, as it is currently impossible to completely avoid fossil fuels, we work with the non-profit Taking Root, which generates carbon credits via reforestation projects in Central America where much of the rainforests was cleared for cattle farming, which has proven inefficient in the tropics. Local farmers are supplied with trees, education and money to maintain the new forests. One tree sequesters enough carbon to offset the impact of twelve cases of wine.