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Champagne Diary: Marie-Courtin

Dominique Moreau.JPGDominique Moreau farms her six acres of vineyards in Polisot according to the precepts of Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic methods of cultivation: treatments in homeopathic doses applied in phase with the moon using such materials as teas made from weeds found among her vines, and rock crystal and manure that have spent the winter buried in a cow’s horn in her vineyard.

In contrast to her beyond-organic methods, her neighbor’s vineyard (to the right below) is never plowed, and he keeps his vines free from weeds and insects using industrial herbicides and pesticides. The results — rock-hard, sterile soil, in contrast to Dominique’s healthy, breathing earth:

Marie Courtin.JPG

Dominique’s nine-year-old son came into the house one day with his iPhone, and he proudly announced that he had lain down among the family vines to record any number of chirping, buzzing insects. However, when he tried to do the same in the neighbor’s rows, there was no sound to be heard.

A winemaker in the Loire once commented to us about the cult-like biodynamic method, “I practice, but I am not a believer.” Translation: “I don’t know how/why this all works, but it does.” Tasting wines made from grapes grown in this manner will help you to understand his point of view.

Addendum: Moreau named her wine-making estate after her grandmother, Marie-Courtin, whom she found particularly close to nature.

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