Saint Polycarpe: Gres Vaillant, love of wine and horses

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The series “Farmer, Village” draws portraits of breeders, winegrowers, gardeners, gardeners… Women, men, families tied to their land, their household, their production and their village.

Eglin de Causin was a professor of psychology at the University of Paris-Créteil. Passionate about horseback riding since childhood, she has also developed a strong taste for tasting great wines. Laurent Maffeis was a lawyer in Drome. The grandson of the director of the cooperative cellar Die, he was very well versed in winemaking at a very young age, and it was only natural that he began a career change, studying viticulture at the agricultural school in Beaune and oenology. The two will meet at a wine fair in Paris and train together on different terroirs in vineyards in Bordeaux, Alsace and Drôme before heading out to find land to start making their own wines.

Their choice will be in 2017 on a domain in one piece 70 ha in total in Saint-Polycarpe, whose vineyard was established by the Benedictine monks in the 13th century. century. “ The Limoux terroir interested us with its dual mountain and Mediterranean influences. We really liked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which are very well cultivated in Burgundy so Limousin was perfect and we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered Mozac. ! “They will christen the estate Le Grès Vaillant, referring to the bedrock in the cellar and the courage of the horses. Aigline really combined her love of horses and viticulture, using their traction power to plow, care for rows and meadows, or transport grapes.

Thus Rustica, the mare Comtoise, Carolus, the Breton draft horse, and Colette, the foal of the former, are associated with the work on the estate. At the moment, Rustica wants more than anything to be led by Egline, and the passage of the plow between the vines is smooth. Laurent highlights the benefits of this hereditary method :” The earth is just plowed from the surface, and not rammed like a tractor, which means that the soil and its microorganisms are not disturbed, which means that water and fertilizers do not seep … “. Without engine noise and exhaust smoke, the work on the ground is done here in cooperation and tender relationship with the horses.

Besides Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Mozac, 7 hectares of vineyards also make up Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The first two vintages were vinified in a cooperative, but now Eglin and Laurent are completely independent in their production after renovating and equipping the old cellar of the estate with stainless steel vats.

In just 5 years of operation, Le Grès Vaillant has taken its rightful place in the local organic wine landscape, producing an average of 30 000 bottles and several cuvetes that have won medals in national and international competitions. A good half is sold directly on the estate, at fairs and exhibitions and has found its customers among restaurateurs in Toulouse, Montpellier and Paris.

During the summer, the couple host farmhouse aperitifs with fellow bakers, cheese makers or local delicacies. In addition, the estate has a 4 bedroom house that can accommodate up to 10 people. So a successful conversion for Eglin and Laurent filled with love for their land, their animals, their wines, and now their little son Alaric, aged 5 months.

All information on the website gresvaillant.fr

Benefits of Animal Traction

Virtually disappeared in the second half of the 20th century. century, some operators again used horse-drawn traction. If this may seem like a step back in time, specific harnesses and tools have been upgraded and improved, starting with the animal’s comfort. The environmental benefits are clear: the horse does not use fossil fuels, does not emit greenhouse gases, produces no noise pollution and, in addition, produces fertilizing manure. Animal traction has agrotechnical advantages: the accuracy of work and less compaction of the soil can significantly increase the yield. If pulling with a horse takes more time than with a tractor and requires daily care, the investment is much lower than the cost of operation, if only because the supply is completely provided by the surrounding meadows. Therefore it is suitable for small farms of 5 or 6 ha in organic viticulture. C 122 500 registered farms with less than 6 hectares of land, France may soon see draft animals come back into force in its countryside. ! Information on the site www.reseaufaireacheval.fr

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