Organic Wines - The Best Organic Winemakers
IV. A selection of the best organic winemakers
We analyzed the current and future state of the wine market, discovered the origins of organic winemaking, and took a long look at all the different existing organic labels and their guidelines... It's now finally time to talk about what really matters above everything else: the winemakers themselves! Here's a little top 10 of some of our favorite producers and wine estates that have decided to fully devote themselves to organic winemaking. We are lucky enough to be able to offer you their wines on Pleasure Wine. The following list has no precise order, it is just some of the team's favorites producers!
Domaine Joseph Drouhin : For more than 30 years, the Domaine de Chablis (now the Domaine Drouhin-Vaudon, since 2008) has been working in the vineyard according to the rules of the organic agriculture. It even went full biodynamic around 20 years ago. The methods they used include horse plowing, manual harvesting, herbal infusions, mineral powders mixed into the soil... At first highly criticized by other winemakers in the region, the Drouhin family have shown that their efforts gave more taste to the grapes. The estate is officially Ecocert certified since 2009, but decided not to show the logo on its bottles. They only care about making good wine. >> Discover the wines from the Domaine Joseph Drouhin
Cécile Tremblay : The grand-niece of the famous Henri Jayer, the late "Master of Pinot Noir" who was already making organic without advertizing it. Cécile cares for her 4 hectares vineyard using organic and biodynamic techniques since its very beginning, back in 2003. She's been Ecocert certified since 2005. Cécile Tremblay considers herself to be an alchemist of the vineyard before anything else, and her mission is taking care of this land that gives her such beautiful fruits every day. The soils of her vineyard are plowed by horse, the treatments are reasoned and she prefers using herbal preparations, according to the teachings of biodynamics. >> Discover the wines from Cécile Tremblay
Lalou Bize-Leroy : The aptly nicknamed "High Priestess of Biodynamics" had to feature in our list! Lalou converted her entire Vosne-Romanée estate to biodynamic agriculture in 1988, after having met the famous Nicolas Joly (another biodynamic winemaker). The encounter ultimately led Lalou to take some drastic measures in her estate: yields were thus deliberately lower, grapevines weren't pruned anymore and the grapes were now harvested whole. Like this great lady always loves to say it, grapevines must live and grow if you want wine to have a true identity. To take better care of her vine stocks, Lalou Bize-Leroy follows the official biodynamic calendar to the letter, treating them with valerian, chamomile and arnica preparations. >> Discover the wines from Lalou Bize-Leroy
Arnaud Ente : This incredible Burgundy winegrower has been experimenting with organic winemaking methods since 2007, on his 4 hectares of grapevines. Arnaud's meticulous work in the vineyard (aerating his soil, improving sap flow thanks to the Poussard pruning technique, using natural manure...), that he sees as a living and breathing ecosystem, gives his wines impressive purity and unmatched aromatic precision. Just like the Drouhin family before him, Arnaud Ente made the conscious choice not to display any organic logo on his wine labels, although he's been officially certified since 2012. >> Discover the wines from Arnaud Ente
Rémi Jobard : After having inherited the family Estate of Meursault in 1991, Rémi Jobard completely switched to organic viticulture in 2005 and received the AB certification for his entire burgundy vineyard six years later. Herbicides and other chemical treatments had already been banned from his vocabulary since 1998, in a constant quest for quality. The Jobard estate also severely decreased its yields, opted for purely manual harvesting, and did some in-depth work on soil preservation (no mechanical tractors are used here). >> Discover the wines from Rémi Jobard
Bernard et Jean-Louis Foucault : The legendary Foucault brothers, founders of the Domaine Clos Rougeard of Saumur-Champigny (before it was sold to the Bouygues family in 2015), already were precursors in the field of organic winegrowing during the 1970's, long before we started speaking about organic wine as a concept. By simply sticking with the viticultural practices from the 17th century, without using any chemical product, they showed many other winemakers of the time that there was a different way of thinking about organic wine. A lot of people started their career thanks to these two men. >> Discover the wines from the Foucault Brothers
Antoine Sanzay : The winemaker produces "Agriculture Biologique Européenne" certified wines officially since 2014. In his vineyard of 12 hectares located in both Saumur and Saumur-Champigny, Antoine works on a soil full of life, that he takes care of almost as much as his grapevines. These plants are treated in accordance with the reasoned agriculture philosophy. As for the vinification process, it is voluntarily non-interventionist, banning any kind of additional inputs (sulphur and copper are sometimes used, although very sparingly). Antoine doesn't hide his admiration for the founders of the Clos Rougeard, Bernard and Jean-Louis. >> Discover the wines from Antoine Sanzay
Maison Vauversin : AB Europe certified Champagne since 2014, with the official label displayed on bottles. Father and son (Bruno and Laurent Vauversin) work according to organic precepts since 2011 (they're actually pioneers in this field, in the little town of Oger), as a way to preserve the environment. Laurent also toys with the idea of making biodynamic wine in the future, logically pursuing its reflection to blend the estate's legacy with more progressive ways of thinking. The Vauversin champagnes are vinified using natural yeasts only and are not filtered. Very few sulphites are used during the process (less than 35mg/L, to be precise). >> Discover the champagnes from the Maison Vauversin
Domaine de Montille : After going full organic in 1995 and 100% biodynamic 10 years later, the Domaine de Montille obtained its official Ecocert certification in 2012. No more chemical fertilizers have been used in the vineyard ever since that day. Now, there's only good old manual tilling, horse manure and vegetable compost allowed. Thus, the soil is reoxygenated and the natural lifecycle of the grapevines is respected, following the different lunar phases (according to the biodynamic sowing and planting calendar). Inputs are also heavily reduced during the vinification process. >> Discover the wines from the Domaine de Montille
Jean-François Ganevat : In the quiet Jura region, Jean-François has been producing natural wines since 1998 and biodynamic wines since 2006. His vineyard is now 100% AB certified. This alchemist of the vineyard seeks to highlight the local terroir above all. He spends a lot of time pampering his 13-hectare vineyard (he is quite fond of using separate parcels), voluntarily limits his production, vinifies his wines without sulphites, does not intervene in the cellar... >> Discover the wines from Jean-François Ganevat
This is the end of our big dossier on organic wine. We hope that you enjoyed reading about this topic as much as we enjoyed writing about it! If the different winemakers we discussed today have piqued your interest, you'll find some of their organic, biodynamic or natural wines right below this paragraph. Should you want more, you can also browse a huge selection of organic wines in the Pleasure Wine catalog.