Château Pédesclaux certified organic in long-term sustainability plan

Château Pédesclaux organic

Speaking exclusively to Decanter, Jacky Lorenzetti, owner of the 52ha estate since 2009, spoke of his conviction to sustainable viticulture and a desire to produce the best wine possible in harmony with nature.

Despite organic practices beginning at the estate 10 years ago in 2012, official conversion began in 2019. ‘When we arrived, we had a lot of work to do to bring soil back to life’, says the real estate investor and owner of Bordeaux estates Château Lafon-Rochet and Château Lilian Ladouys in St-Estèphe as well as co-owner of Château d’Issan in Margaux and Paris rugby team Racing 92. The team began with the ‘most difficult and disease-prone terroirs’ and worked ‘step by step from there’.

‘It was a conviction from the beginning, and made sense for us’ Lorenzetti said.

Jacky, Françoise and Manon Lorenzetti

Jacky, Françoise and Manon Lorenzetti

Château Pédesclaux a timeline

2009: Acquired by the Lorenzetti family, Jacky and Françoise and their daughter Manon. Primary objective to decompact the soils and stimulate life
2010: A return to tillage while setting up competitive grassing to control excessive vigour and create a deep root network as well as stopping mineral fertilisation
2011: An in-depth study created of 100 soil pits across the vineyard identifying 19 different types of soil leading to a restructuring programme to best match grape variety to terroir.
2012: First organic trials begin on a 2ha parcel of vines, one of the most difficult and complex in terms of disease pressure.
2014: New gravity cellar installed
2015: Organic trials doubled in plots which systematically go into the grand vin. Biodynamic trials also begin using the know-how of Antoine Leptit de La Bigne. Rigorous comparisons are undertaken in the winery between normal, organic and biodynamic viticulture,
2016: 7.5ha organic
2017: 12ha organic
2018: 24ha organic. Organically farmed vines showing more resistance to disease and global warming effects
2019: Official organic conversion begins
2020-2021: Participated in the IACUSA (Impacts and accumulation of copper in agricultural soils) conducted by the firm Novasol Experts alongside French wine growers concerned about the environmental impact of their practices such as Romanee-Conti, Château Latour and Palmer. Objective to measure the ecotoxicological impact of copper on the biological quality of wine-growing soils using a scientific approach.
2022: Officially certified organic and gravity-fed. New packaging to be revealed as of this vintage.

A new, modern, gravity-fed winery was established in 2014 with 58 vats for specific parcel micro-vinfications, ranging in volume and size with 12 options between 60 and 140hl), but Lorenzetti insists terroir contributes ‘80% to the quality of the wine. A great chai helps the work of humans to gain precision but the vineyard is number one’.

Lorenzetti insists the objective is ‘not necessarily to make an organic wine but to make the best wine possible’, admitting that it hasn’t been easy. The average production cost has risen 15% while the average yield loss per vintage over the past 10 years has been -10% on average.

‘It has an impact of course, but we accept the difficulties because we’re convinced this is the right path to take.’

Today, 50% of the vineyard is conducted organically and 50% biodynamically which is still being assessed for its impact on the vineyard and the wine. ‘Organics gives us the best warranty for the environment, but we’re trialling one step further’.

An agroecology programme is also in place with trees and hedges planted to encourage and develop biodiversity and ‘balance the vineyard’. Massal selection is also used to keep the most resistant varieties and characters of successful old-vine plantings. ‘We find when the vineyard is balanced you need to use even less organic products’.

When asked if the same philosophy and endeavours extend to the other properties in the portfolio, Lorenzetti said; ‘We can’t have a…

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Château Pédesclaux certified organic in long-term sustainability plan  
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