Today, standards of hygiene and traceability have become compulsory in accordance with European Legislation and indispensable to the consumer’s ever increasing awareness of food products safety. The Lafond Roc-Epine Domain is engaged in the quest for quality of the “Independent Winegrowers”, an engagement of quality service and environment, having for objective the Certification AFAQ Confidence Service. This course of action is entirely of our own initiative, comprising the different sectors of activity on the domain: the cellar, the vineyards, administration, business strategies, etc., and takes into account pertinent legislation (HACCP, Decrees,…).Our cellar respects hygiene standards as stipulated by the European Hygiene Recommendations of June 14, 1993.
Meaning, at each bottling or batch, samples are taken:
*To undergo an immediate micro-biological analysis in our oenological laboratory.
*To be kept during 2 years minimum as “witnesses” and to be tasted “horizontally” which means tasting of the all the different bottlings of the same vintage. This gives a precise idea of the evolution of quality for each vintage.
As for traceability, each operation is a batch (written on each palette). The number of bottles produced during each operation is carefully accounted for, necessary for optimal management of our stocks. The distribution of batches (client by client) is written down, thus enabling us to follow up our products after delivery to the
customer and have reliable information available in the case of any claims.
We have set up application on the domain of a Territorial Farming Contract which binds us to Public Authorities, to develop multi-functional wine farming methods which will contribute to the wine production as well as taking into consideration the environmental context. This means using natural farming methods which respect our patrimony of Nature and landscape.
Traceability also takes place in the vineyard. Each parcel is referenced and each day the vineyard manager logs in the work done. The information thus gathered, allows us to closely follow the “life” of the vines and the grapes, from the beginning of the growth cycle, up to the harvesting.
Traceability is mastered from the vine plant to the bottle sold to a customer; we can therefore say we fully comply with the framework of complete traceability.
Our objective has been reached, our handling of all the steps in order to produce a quality product, from the vine to the bottle, by respecting the demands of various legislation, is particularly to satisfy the consumer’s demands. A continuous endeavour for improvement and the omnipresence of quality will be our permanent quest for the future.
THE ADVANTAGES OF ORGANIC VITICULTURE
Organic wine exist since the harvest 2012.
However, wine produced from grapes grown by organic farming exists.
Wine producers who use organic farming methods restrict themselves to the use of only products which are exempt of synthetic molecules, meaning coming from the chemical industry.
The objective is therefore to produce wines exempt of any polluting chemicals.
Concerning the care of the vines: we favour the exclusive use of natural raw materials (compost, animal manure) and encourage the natural confrontation between species. The objective is to privilege life in the soil and sub-soil by developing bio-diversity.
But even more than simply excluding synthetic compounds, organic farming works hand in hand with the plants’ natural defences, as well as the balance which exists between the host and the parasite.
Therefore, it is always preferable to work preventively by putting the vine in the most optimal situation possible, allowing it to react to aggressions, rather than treating it in a curative way.
Working the soil on the LAFOND ESTATE :
Weed killers are forbidden in organic farming, mastering grass and weed growth is done mechanically by ploughing the soil which allows us to fight against compact earth and encourages a balanced development of the root system, it also allows penetration of the organic compounds.
The difficulty is to limit the growth of grass and weeds which rival with the vines, in particular during draughts, which impedes the growth of the young vines.
On the contrary, we sometimes plant grass in certain parcels after the harvest until springtime. This enables us to fight erosion, improve the structure and bearing capacities of the soil and encourages the development of micro-organic activity in the soil and sub-soil.
Organic viticulture does not pertain only to the grapes grown on the vines. In fact, the whole parcel benefits from this means of farming, the micro-organisms develop in the sub-soil, flora returns and the soil lives once again.
The trim rows of vines are no longer “boulevards”, which in the case of heavy rains, leave way to erosion or flooding.
THE FIGHT AGAINST DISEASES
The means of “curative” treatments to fight against diseases are highly reduced in organic farming, maintaining the vines in a satisfactory and sustainable state is of utmost importance.
We can use copper only to fight mildew; the total quantity used is limited to 6 kilograms per hectare per year. It is used directly on the plant, easily washed off by rain, meaning it is necessary to renew the operation after each rainfall of 20 millimetres or more.
Fortunately, our climate in the Southern Rhone Valley (hot and dry) grandly assists us in the protection of the vines.
Only sulphur is allowed, in wet application. It is easily washed off as well and treatment must be renewed after heavy rains. It has a curative effect. Protection of the vines must be maintained until beginning July.
Therefore, all the Appellation of Domaine LAFOND are Organic wines since harvest 2012.