Our quest for quality relies on getting the best and healthiest fruit possible.
Our estate is certified organic and we’re starting to grow other plants and trees to encourage biodiversity. 300 olives were planted in 2011 and our new vineyard of Syrah is made of our own ‘massale selection’ from old vineyards in Côte Rôtie, and not the normal clonal selection, thus ensuring that each vine is genetically different.
We don’t ‘feed’ the vines but use natural compost from cow manure to add organic matter and life to the soils. Also, in winter we grow different cover crops that help the structure of the soils, avoid erosion, and also help the biodiversity when in flower. We then mulch it to add vegetal organic matter to the soils.
Under the rows of vines the weeds are controlled by ‘intercep’, a mechanical tool that cultivates between the vines and stretches inside the row when it touches the vine.
Between the rows, depending on the amount of rainfall, we either leave the covercrop or cultivate, always trying to minimize the operations over the soil.
A year with the Vigneron
It starts in winter with the pruning: 3 types of pruning are used at Domaine Gayda depending on the grape varieties :
- Gobelet for the bush vines (no trellising because the vines grow very straight) like Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache.
- Cordon de Royat for the Mourvedre, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc and some Syrahs and Viogniers.
- Guyot for some Syrah and Viognier and all Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
We prune to have the best balance between the strength of the vine, how it will grow, the future crop but also the age of the vine (some of the vines are up to 80 years old!)
In spring and again at the beginning of summer, by hand, we remove the excess of young shoots not needed at pruning and if the vines are trellised we tuck in the shoots to spread them and in order to ensure that they grow straight.
We start protecting the vines with the use of a spraying of sulphur and also a little copper (between 1 and 3 kilos/ha/year) and we are also experimenting with tea plant treatments.
In more wetter, or colder years, we deleaf around the grape area so they get more direct light and green harvest when bunches are touching to avoid the development of fungi.
And of course we give the vines a lot of love. At this stage we have done everything we could to ensure a perfect ripening season until the harvest…