Controversy in Pomerol over drainage

Wednesday October 03 2018 by Vitisphere

 The work, which can be seen from the road, 'caused uproar amongst many winegrowers. The industry pulled together and we were quickly informed”, comments Laurent Fidèle. The work, which can be seen from the road, 'caused uproar amongst many winegrowers. The industry pulled together and we were quickly informed”, comments Laurent Fidèle. - Photo credit : DR

Drainage work before planting a 0.62 hectare plot in Pomerol is stirring up debate and setting France’s internet wine community on fire. Photos of diggers excavating the ground quickly left the Pomerol plateau and did the rounds on social media. “I am not the only one doing drainage work, having to bring in stones or having to spread excess soil... If Bordeaux properties had not historically drained the soils, there would not be much wine in Gironde!” said an exasperated Denis Durantou, owner of Château L'Église Clinet (Pomerol) and the plot where the work was started. “All the soil came from the plot, there is none from elsewhere”, he says, adding : “The excavation work may seem significant for those who are unfamiliar with vineyard work. But it was only very standard practice”. His viewpoint does not seem to have been shared by other winegrowers (“you don't drain a plot by spreading gravel underneath”, said one), who immediately alerted the Bordeaux branch of the national appellation institute (INAO), sending photos in real time. In response to this unprecedented outcry, a technician was sent to the site the same day.

It appeared that Denis Durantou had not informed the producers’ organisation of the work, despite the fact they he is legally bound to do so. If there is proven damage to the soil, the ability of a plot to produce appellation wine may be irreparably lost. The economic implications in a prestigious appellation like Pomerol are obvious. In 2017, the price of a hectare in Pomerol was around €1.5 million according to land registry organisation SAFER, which makes the price of a 0.62 hectare plot in excess of €900,000.

 

 

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