Friday, August 4, 2017

For the love of old vines

Domaine Jones is made up of 20 small vineyards scattered across the arid countryside around the remote village of Tuchan.  The vines are exclusively old vines and old means old in Domaine Jones language.  From 40 years up to over 100 years.  I have been collecting vineyards since we started the Domaine in 2009 with just one.  I now have a fine collection of some of the oldest vineyards in the village - Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Muscat and Macabeu – all old, all magnificently located and all extremely hard work.

Even on our old vines we want to keep the yields down so that all the grapes can ripen evenly and healthily.  We thin out the shoots and take off unwanted leaves at the bottom of the vines by hand during the spring.

For the syrah on trellisis we make sure that the rows stay neat and tidy by tucking the branches behind the wires two or three times during the growing season.  And when the branches are too high to stay within the wires we chop them off with hand held sheers.  We also plough with our trusty steed - the 50 year old chenillard tractor.


If I just had one little vineyard all this could be quite fun but as a collector of vineyards I now have over 50 000 vines that need individual care and attention. Not the walk in the park (or in the vineyard)  I had envisaged!
So is all this hard work worth it?  And is it reflected in the quality of the wine?
Given all the rave reviews our wines get I think we must be doing something right.  Our attention to detail and our knowledge of each individual vineyard means that our wine making starts in the vineyard 9 months before we even pick the first grape.

Happy vines make happy wines!