Chapter 3.

Innovation

and respect for tradition

« A head to reflect; two arms to take action! »

INTRODUCTION

« It is sometimes said that little imperfections are what render things perfect. »

With every era comes novelty. Technologies evolve – as do our responses. Our mission is simple: to preserve the precious heritage passed down by our ancestors, yet to adapt it to ensure it remains sustainable.

Domaine Comtesse de Chérisey - Innovation

1. A FAMILY ADVENTURE THAT BEGAN IN THE 19TH CENTURY

Although the barn or smallholding of Blagny was ceded to the Cistercian monks of the abbey of Maizière in the 12th century, the current property was acquired by our ancestors in 1811.

When the monks settled on the Blagny site, part of the vineyard already existed. They who did God's work thus continued to develop it. They constructed several buildings with wine in mind, as well as a chapel (Saint Denis) in the 15th century. All the monks' properties were sold as 'National Property' in 1793, after the French Revolution.

After 1811, this family property continued to evolve. In 1996, Hélène de Chérisey and her husband Laurent Martelet planted their first vine in 'La Genelotte' and, in 1998, they decided to leave the Touraine region for good to settle as young winegrowers in Blagny. Today, their daughter Laurette Martelet is preparing to take over the reins with Rémi Colin.

2. SERVING SUSTAINABLE VITICULTURE

The Domaine Comtesse de Chérisey is working to preserve the surrounding animal and plant biodiversity. The switch to organic farming, the natural grass cover in certain plots, the investment in the forest, the restoration of dry stone walls, the protection and planting of trees and shrubs are all actions that will contribute to a better life in the future. In addition, the estate cooperates with research and development organisations such as the IFV (the French Wine and Vine Institute). So, for 5 years now, research programmes aiming to better understand the role of endemic species such as bats and blue tits in the vine ecosystem are underway.

We are dedicated to producing those resources locally that are needed in the operation of the estate. In 2013, we vinified some of our wines in barrels made from oak trees that came from Blagny wood! To build on this achievement, we have created a forestry group to enable us to increase the production of staves. In addition, we are setting up a workshop to produce our own wooden stakes, training stakes, etc. We are also considering a Massal Selection project to preserve our wine heritage.

Finally, all the materials for the construction of our new winery came from the Jura and the Morvan mountains (for the wood) and from the Comblanchien quarry (for the stone).

Domaine Comtesse de Chérisey - Innovation
Domaine Comtesse de Chérisey - L'innovation

3. TRADITIONS STEM FROM SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS ONLY !

We are very attached to local traditional values. If the horse is man's best friend, the pickaxe and secateurs are the inseparable companions of the wine servant. All our vines are worked manually for the most part, though the ploughing is mechanical. Amendments are based on fresh cattle manure. To carry out all of this work, we hire many seasonal workers.

In the cellar, vinification and ageing in wood are an essential part of the process. Minimal inputs are used out of respect for the grapes, as well as to achieve a greater typicity for the wines. Fining and filtration of the wines are prohibited; patience and observation are practised instead.

However, the temptation to better understand certain phenomena, such as vine diseases, encourages us to invest in innovative and efficient equipment. For this reason, we installed a connected weather station, which allows us to better adapt our interventions – and reduce our carbon footprint accordingly.