We are personally convinced, that our wines reflect the attention given to the natural health and balance of our vineyards
The need to adapt to the terroir:
Today the total surface of the vineyards farmed by Delas consists of:
9.4 ha of Hermitage, 7 ha of which situated on steep terraces, 2.3 ha of terraced Saint-Joseph vineyards, 0.5 ha of Crozes-Hermitage situated in the valley. Due to their topography the nine hectares of steep, terraced vineyards are not suitable to be farmed with tractors and vineyard sprays have to be carried out on foot, with backpack spraying equipment weighing approximately 25kg.
As observed in 2016 and 2017, the climate in the northern Rhône can affect the vines by creating water stress, causing them to block maturity and to shut down. It is in order to minimize the impact of such climate variations, that we plough our soils, thus cutting off the spreading surface roots and encouraging the root system to develop in deeper layers of the soil with more constant humidity levels.
Caring for staff, the consumer and the environment:
In 2017 the total surface of the DELAS farmed vineyards has been ploughed. To manage the naturally occurring weeds we adapt to the varying topography by combining different means:
a plough attached to a winch, cultivators and even manual hoes for the steeper terraced vineyards, a caterpillar at the bottom of the hill and tractors on the flats. For many years the fertility of the soils has been maintained by adding composted sheep manure and it is by analyzing the soils, the cuttings or the stems that we monitor their balance and complement it with precise additions.
It is with the encouragement of our President and CEO, Monsieur Fabrice ROSSET, that we are undertaking a long selection process, aiming at producing our own cuttings and therefore allowing us to preserve the genetic heritage of our Hermitage vineyard. Furthermore, we are part of the DEPHY-program, testing under supervision of the Chamber of Agriculture, new ‘biocontrol’ products that aim at reducing the quantities of spray products applied, such as copper sulfate for example. Even though DELAS was among the first to abandon spraying by helicopter, we follow today closely the new emerging technologies, like the use of drones for spraying, or vineyard specific auto mowers. In 2018, we acquired the French HVE label (high environmental value) for our vineyards, which also encouragesus to re-examine subjects like biodiversity, as well as other environmental aspects.
These steps, in line with directives such as the‘ Grenelle de l’ Environnement’, as well as ‘Ecophyto2018’ (nb: National Directives aiming at reducing substantially the use of chemicals in agriculture over the next years) and anticipating the ban on glyphosate as well as another herbicides, have been implemented gradually, focusing mainly on the protection of our vineyard staff, of the consumer and the environment. Beyond the environmental and legal aspects already mentioned, something intriguing comes to our attention: We are personally convinced, that our wines like Domaine des Grands Chemins, Sainte-Epine, Domaine des Tourettes and Les Bessards truly reflect the attention given to the natural health and balance of our vineyards, by revealing these intangible characteristics that we describe in our tastings as ‘vibrant’ or ‘alive’ .. but you will be the ultimate judge…..