Bertrand Darviot, winegrower, Domaine du Château de la Velle, Côte-d'Or - France

« I manage my vineyard sustainably without obeying any strict dogma, but rather by observing it and giving it what it needs at the right moment.»

The estate

  • An 8-ha vineyard spanning several Burgundy villages (Meursault, Pommard, Beaune, Savigny les Beaune)
  • Red wines are made from Pinot noir grapes, and white wines from Chardonnay
  • 50,000 bottles produced per year
  • Most is sold direct to customers, 25-30% exported, to Japan 
  • Also runs a rural gîte business with wine tourism since 1978

Innovations 

  • At the end of the 1980s he reduced his use of chemical crop protection products, with less weed killer and more surface hoeing and grassing over between vine rows
  • Experimentation of half-dose treatments
  • Improvement of existing equipment to design a thermal weed control system
  • Use of lightweight machinery for treatment/spraying (lightweight tractor on caterpillar tracks) to prevent soil compaction
  • In the 1990s he opened his estate to the University of Burgundy for experimentation
  • Joined a Dephy group to share his practices with other winegrowers
  • In 2018, introduction of Notiphy Box system with Deaverde (chemical exposure prevention for professionals and the public, re-entry interval compliance)
  • Tests with the “COB” for bottling, dissolved oxygen, inert gas treatment, dissolution of CO2 and O2, etc.

Observed results

  • He has observed that half dose treatments are just as effective as full doses.
  • Lower costs, since less use of chemical crop protection products (5 or 6 treatments instead of 12 in conventional farming)
  • Improvement of soil structure and its organic matter content
  • Vine root structure which goes deeper into the earth, giving a different character to the wine
  • His overall approach of sustainable vine management is something to promote to tourists and his gîte guests 

Find out more at: www.darviot.fr

Profile written by AgrOnov, the agroecology innovation hub