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.»

Spotlight on key facts and main elements of their aproach

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