The Men and Women who craft CHÂTEAU ARGADENS
Agro-ecology at Château Argadens: Goodbye to herbicides…
From the moment we bought Château Argadens in 2002, we turned our efforts to applying an agro-ecological approach to winegrowing, first and foremost by reducing input (fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides) and fostering the interaction between soil and vine.
The conviction and motivation of our employees were for a long time frustrated by problems of hardware – the equipment was unsuitable for our old vines, planted in rows 3 metres apart, and for the type of soil itself. The land around Château Argadens is composed of clay and silt, a rather heavy soil which is difficult to till.
Since 2006, all our new plantations (24 hectares, or 62% of the planted surface area) have been weeded by machine and have never seen a drop of weedkiller. They were planted in rows 2m or 2.5m apart, which are easier to till with our equipment. A combination of turning the soil with a blade in early spring then maintaining it with a rotary brush-type tool in the summer supplies satisfactory results.
As for our old vines planted 3m apart, not having found any suitable tools available commercially Jérôme and Nicolas worked during the winter on their own designs based on old tools they found at the Château or recovered from neighbouring estates. The cleaned, dismantled, ground and welded them to come up with the best solution.
They were able to start trying out their new tools in early March, so far with satisfactory results.
Now they’ll have to continue through an entire vegetation cycle to see whether we can definitively wave goodbye to herbicides at Château Argadens. Watch this space…