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Officially organic

Posted by on 13 mai 2019 in News | 0 comments

Going for organic certification

Carignan vineyard farmed organically

Carignan Vineyard

We have been farming our vineyards organically since the we started in 2012. We have decided to make that official and have signed up with Ecocert, an organisation  that requires compliance with their standards for organic certification.  The process takes three years so we should be officially organic, and be able to put that cute little green leaf logo on our bottles from 2022.

Image result for organic logo europe

What took us so long?

There are several reasons why we didn’t do this right from the beginning. Firstly the fee for certification, yet another cost for a small business. Secondly, who needs more paperwork? Thirdly, and more fundamentally, is the recognition that there are different ways of growing grapes and respecting the environment and following a set of criteria to get organic certification is just one of them. However, many customers have asked whether we are organic and an official certification or logo is much easier for consumers to understand that our ‘de facto organic’ explanation.

 

What do we put on our vineyards?

Organic Carignan vineyard

Sheep grazing in our Carignan vineyard

Organic viticulture means using no chemical fungicides, insecticides or weedkillers. Compost and fertilisers must be natural ie from plants or animals/animal waste. We do use sprays in our vineyards to stop the vines and grapes getting fungal diseases or eaten by insects (particularly the lava of the grape vine moth) but in organic farming these sprays come from a natural as opposed to a synthetic source. Here is a list of what we put on our vineyards in the last 5 years and why. In approximate order of the frequency of application. All are certified organic products.

  • sulphur (fungal disease – powdery mildew)
  • extract of orange (fungal diseases, so use less copper and sulphur)
  • copper (fungal disease – downy mildew)
  • Compost – plant or cow dung
  • organic fertilizer, made from bird or pig poo. And sheep poo! (see photo)
  • Pheromone pods (from 2019), to sexually confuse grape vine moth males and so replace insecticides such as ..
  • Bacillus Thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacterium (grape vine moth)
  • Spinosad insecticide, a bacterium originally discovered in sugar cane (grape vine moth)
  • Pyrethrins, an insecticide extracted from chrysanthemums. By law, grape growers have to use insecticide to reduce populations of cicadelle, the leaf hopper that spreads the disease flavescence dorée.

Organics in the winery

We are pretty non-interventionist in our winemaking so adhering to organic rules in the winery (eg lower sulphur) shouldn’t be a problem. A topic for another post!

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Bottling 2016 La Tasque

Posted by on 29 mars 2018 in News | 0 comments

Bottling 2016 Syrah and Carignan

We bottled our 2016 Syrah and 2016 Carignan yesterday, 2500 bottles in all. It was a small but perfectly formed vintage – our best yet we think. It needs more time to mature in bottle so it won’t be released until next year. In the meantime, here are some photos of bottling, using a high tech bottling line from the back of a lorry.

Making up boxes beforehand

 

Merve and Mathilda with Syrah

A shady Simon with Carignan

Packing Syrah 2016

Pallet of 2016 Syrah

Trish and Merve packing 2016 Carignan

Et Voila! La Tasque Carignan

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2017 – Frost and fruit (or not)

Posted by on 22 juin 2017 in News | 0 comments

2017  in the vineyard – highs and lows

The morning of the 18th April was when the big frost hit the Languedoc. Not all vineyards were affected – it depended on topography but unfortunately our vineyards were badly hit. Within a couple of hours our vines had gone from looking lovely and green and healthy to this. Approximately 80% of Syrah vines were frosted. 60% of the Carignan.

Carignan before the frost

Carignan after the frost

Pretty depressing, I can tell you.

But nature is amazing. Within a month, the secondary buds had started to burst and now the vineyards are green and healthy with lots of leaves. The only problem is that often these secondary buds are not fruitful. In the Carignan, the bottom half of the vineyard, which was completely frosted, has no grapes. Lots of leaves but literally NO grapes. The top section of  the Carignan is, mercifully, a different story. There was much less damage and there are some promising bunches of grapes forming.

Carignan grapes – June

Syrah – grapes from primary and secondary buds on the same vine

The Syrah presents more of a challenge. More of the secondary buds are fruitful but they are approximately 5 weeks behind the fruit formed on the primary buds. And often on the same vine! The photo below illustrates this very clearly. The secondary fruit is only just flowering. This means that the harvest will have to be staggered as the grapes will have be ripe at different times. Selection will be key.

One thing is sure. 2017 will be a very small vintage.

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Bottling

Posted by on 23 févr. 2017 in News | 0 comments

Bottling 2015 vintage

We had a busy day on Tuesday, bottling our 2015 vintage. We made three wines in 2015, Domaine La Tasque  Carignan and a varietal Syrah. Also Tasque Grenache, which comes from a small vineyard of old vines which is owned by a friend of ours.

Carignan 2015 comes off the bottling line

 

packing Carignan into boxes

 

Putting the Carignan box into the scotch machine

 

6 bottles carton of Domaine La Tasque Carignan 2015

 

Syrah 2015 comes off the bottling line and into boxes

Smart red boxes of Tasque Grenache 2015

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Fermentation

Posted by on 24 sept. 2014 in News | 0 comments

The grapes are gently fermenting in our new winery, pictured below just before harvest.

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The colour extraction on the Carignan is superb. The photo below was taken the day after the harvest and the juice was already a deep, vivid pink. Now it is like ink and smells of blackberries.

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The Syrah is fermenting slowly in its stylish wooden tank. A daily ‘pigeage’ aka punching down by hand extracts lots of colour and flavour. It is currently half wine and half juice and already smells like our Syrah, of black cherries and white pepper.

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