The French #Winophiles
Join the French #Winophiles on Saturday, May 18th from 11 am – 12 pm ET.
Topic: Gérard Bertrand Wines
Gérard Bertrand commands attention. Charismatic owner of the eponymous Gérard Bertrand Wines, the former professional rugby player turned winemaker oversees a 920-hectare, 15 vineyard empire throughout the Languedoc.
The towering (6′ 5″), tousle-haired businessman with electrifying eyes whirlwinds through each day like it’s his last, a restless Renaissance man driven by his passion for wine, food, culture and the arts. In addition to his wine estates, Bertrand also hosts his acclaimed Jazz Festival each summer at Château L’Hospitalet at his stunning hotel, winery and Michelin-rated restaurant, and has authored the book “Wine, Moon and Stars: A South of France Experience.”
A tireless proponent of biodynamics, Bertrand recently spoke at the 2019 “Climate Change Leadership: Solutions for the Wine Industry” conference in Portugal. ”By deploying biodynamic practices, we discovered our area in a whole new light with regard to its natural setting, and rich lessons,” Bertrand explained, “This experience allows us to offer real farming techniques that help preserve the environment, while helping us to fight against climate change and adapt to it. We just want to observe positive and concrete developments in the coming years. We believe in it. Be the change!”
Bertrand first learned of biodynamics after a visit to his homeopathic doctor. Homeopathy, a centuries-old alternative medical system, posits “like cures like.” Intrigued, Bertrand wondered if his vineyards could achieve better health through a similar system? His research led him to biodynamics, a farming system developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the 1920’s. Biodynamics employs homeopathic remedies comprised of plant, animal and mineral components, applied to plants in conjunction with cosmic cycles, to achieve balance and harmony within a self-sustaining ecosystem. Many dismiss biodynamics as ‘voodoo’ viticulture, despite its efficacy, because of its unorthodox approach.
Bertrand’s curiosity overrode his skepticism. In 2002, the winemaker entrusted his head of biodynamic agriculture Gilles de Baudus, and wine estates manager Richard Planas, to secretly convert four hectares of the his Domaine de Cigalus vineyard into a test plot – 2 hectares to biodynamics, the other two to regular farming methods. Over time, both noticed a pronounced vitality in vine and fruit in the biodynamic plot, as well as greater soil diversity, and a more robust ecosystem of thriving plants, animals, insects and microorganisms.
But the real proof came at the team blind tasting of estate wines. The biodynamic wines received the highest marks, confirming Bertrand’s intuition – that biodynamics does indeed work best to produce harmony in the vineyard, and superiority in the wines. Bertrand has since committed to converting all his estates to biodynamic farming practices.
Last September, I attended the celebration of harvest at Gérard Bertrand’s Château d’Hospitalet as a media guest. There, Bertrand intoxicated us with “l’art d’vivre les vins de sud’ (‘the art of life and wines of the south’) through a series of winery tours, Master Class tastings, and sumptuous meals at his restaurant L’Art de Vivre. We even joined his harvest crew for a brief stint in the vineyards, later climbing the hills for an astonishing view of the Mediterranean Sea. The days blurred by in a hazy tang of salt air, garrigue and ripening grapes.
However, the most important part of the media tour comprised an intimate tour of Domaine de Cigalus, his home, and the benchmark vineyard where Bertrand first began his exploration of biodynamics.
Taste for yourselves! Join the French #Winophiles (Twitter: #Winophiles) on Saturday, May 18th from 11 am – 12 pm ET. as we taste and tipple through some stunning southern French food and wine pairings designed to compliment Gérard Bertrand Wines Cigalus Blanc.
Twitter account for the Gerard Bertrand Wines is: @GBvins
The Instagram account is : @gerardbertrandwines
Questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below.
Copyright ©2019 LM Archer. All Rights Reserved.
Very interesting. I admire the French for recognizing climate change and what they are doing for the future of growing grapes and making wine.