Valcolombe is a delightful 8-hectare estate with 6.5 hectares of vines, woodland and some 100 olive trees, with pine woods all around.
The vineyards lie below the Provençal village of Villecroze, in the Coteaux Varois AOC.
The vines at Valcolombe are cultivated without aggressive chemicals: no weedkiller and only organic fertiliser. The ground is tilled, hoed and aerated all year round.
Around 15 May the vines are sprayed or dusted for the first time. The best treatments are sulphur and copper – tradition and effective.
The vines are spur-trained by the cordon de Royat system. This is an aristocratic pruning method that gives a limited yield but high quality. The stakes are of wood, the vines closely spaced.
The natural hedges and woodland around the vineyards have been preserved; they are home to hundreds of birds, which eat many of the insect and caterpillar pests.
We make just one concession: as the harvest approaches the vines are surrounded by an electric fence to keep out wild boar, which have a weakness for the sweet, ripe berries.
The estate is amply equipped with ploughs, hoes, muck spreaders, sprayers, dusters, augur units etc.
But there is one machine we will never use, and that is a mechanical harvester.
We harvest by hand, and we're proud of it.
It's one of the secrets of the excellence of our wines.