Hans and Christa at Domaine Bourdic in the Côtes de Thongue in Languedoc spent quite a lot of time this winter planting more than 250 trees and shrubs as part of a pilot program intended to promote and increase biodiversity in the area.
Hans raved about the process during my recent trip to the estate, confident that it will be a boon to their ongoing efforts to find a natural balance between their vines and the local ecosystem. In their spring newsletter, Hans and Christa sent these pictures with a detailed description of the process:
For the last two years, we have been members of a pilot group in the heart of the Syndicat de Côtes de Thongue. It is made up of 13 wine producers all of whom are committed to preserve the biodiversity of their vines. In the first instance, each of us has had their vineyards analysed – that’s to say they have examined each parcel of land on their domaine with regard to its nature, and the number and state of the existing biodiversity. We have all noted everything which was not cultivable land as for instance the grass verges, the hedges and ditches, stone walls, trees, forests, fallow land, marshes and heath land. After which the whole lot were fed into a specialized computer programme, which allowed a specialist from the nature conservancy to create a specific diagnostic for each domaine.
38,6% of our global land surface is biodiversity of which 92% are in either a good or average state. The work to improve this status quo is now about to begin through improving and expanding the biodiversity of the terrain. This winter we planted a whole new series of hedges with 250 local shrubs from the region, and we also planted some trees. In the spring we will be clearing the fallow land to avoid it being taken over by weeds. Encouraging biodiversity also facilitates organic farming. In an area which is filled with diverse plant life, the auxiliaries are better able to flourish and we have, as a result, fewer and fewer diseases in the vines and we can reduce even further the treatments.
Nature finds its own natural balance.
Christa Vogel and Hans Hürlimann