Château d'Yquem certified organic by 2022

Mardi 28 juillet 2020 par Vitisphere

 Château d'Yquem has had a weather station for 140 years and has never recorded higher levels of rainfall between April and May than in 2020.
Château d'Yquem has had a weather station for 140 years and has never recorded higher levels of rainfall between April and May than in 2020. - crédit photo : G. Uferas (château d’Yquem)

Announced as a matter of course on May 13, 2019 by Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, the switch-over to organic farming at Château d'Yquem began shortly afterwards. The conversion is highly symbolic and the aim is to secure certification by the 2022 vintage. “We began the switch-over process on August 12, 2019, but we had already been testing organic treatments on half of vineyard acreage for two years”, says Sandrine Garbay, cellar master at the 1855 Premier Grand Cru Classé Supérieur chateau. The 2020 vintage proved to be extremely conducive to the onset of downy mildew in Bordeaux: “For our first 100% organic year, the weather certainly didn’t do us any favours!” sums up Francis Mayeur, Château d'Yquem’s technical director.

The main challenge on the estate’s 100-hectare vineyard was to get the tractor through the sloping, clayey soils where tillage is done by machine and spray them after heavy rainfall. “Our main problem is copper leaching. It meant we had to anticipate and protect the vines beforehand. We also had to be proactive in getting back into the vineyards as quickly as possible”, says Mayeur, who now has a sixth sprayer to cover the vineyard.

Now that Château d'Yquem has come through its first year of conversion relatively unscathed, it intends to ward off the fate of vintages ending in 2 for its certification in 2022. The classified growth downgraded the 2012 vintage, as it did the 1992 and 1972 harvests before it...

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