Soil and Growing of the vines


The vineyard 

7,12 hectares consisting of : 

6,64 hectares of red grapes (80% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Francs). The vines are 30 to 70 years old. Another 0,20 hectares is rooted with very old vines that survived to Phyolloxéra. In December 2009, we made a DNA analysis of these very old vines and discovered that some were a rare variety called "Bouchalès".  

InJune 2015 we have rooted 1,5 hectares of Cabernet Francs. 

0,48 hectare of white grapes, 100% Semillon. The vines are 40 years old.



The Soil of La Vieille Chapelle is located on the alluvial banks of the Dordogne River:

  • Sand and silt clays
  • Clayey silts
Under these alluvial deposits, clays of the superior Eocene may be found. Studies show great homogeneity of the soil. Here are some conclusions :
  • Between 0 and 1,2 meters : sand-silt dark clay with an excellent structure in aggregates belonging to the Dordogne river alluvial deposits.

  • An excellent structure : lumpy and well balanced in wich the presence of organic substance is a major agronomic advantage.

  • The growing environment, rich with active wildlife, is doted with important macro porosity.

  • Under the alluvial sediments are the Paleothium clays, at least 25m thick
Soil specificities :
The proximity of the Dordogne River brings specific benefits to the way we conduct the vineyard and the quality of wine :  
  • The microclimate due to the river seems to generate a slighter pluviometry than the higher lands nearby. We obtain rich, naturally concentrated and healthy grape juices.

  • A windy environment allows - even on rainy days- quick drying of both leaves and grapes. This helps to reduce treatments due to highly ventilated vines. 

  • THe high level of sediment in the Dordogne enable this river to capture heat and protect the vines during high period of freezing. 

  • Due to the proximity of the Dordogne river, soils are rich with organic elements, given fullbodied and structured wines.
  • The river and its protected environment helps to a very active biodiversity and lifes :  Essential to our Organic vines and wines. 

  • Last, twice a day, the powerfull tides (we are 90 kms from the seashore, but still there is 7 to 8 meters difference between low and high tides) may bring like breathing movement to the soil and terroir. 

Plantation density:

All vines are planted in rows 1,8 meters apart at 1,2 or 1,5 metre intervals for an average density between 3700 to 4600 plants per hectare

Vine growing philosophy:

In 2008 we decided to stop "chemical herbicides". Then in 2009 we stopped the chemical pesticides. 2010 vintage was our first year of conversion to Organic agriculture (certification by Ecocert). 

2013 is our first vintage with official Organic Certification (AB). Our next target is to work the vineyard with Bio-Dynamie principles.  

Here are more details on how we conduct the vineyard : 

  • VInes weed one row out of two. 
  • Highest fenced surface to increase the photosynthesis
  • Adapt the pruning to the age of the vines in order to respect the plants and to find a balance between quality and concentration, not quantity....

  • 100% manual harvest.
  • Reduction of treatments and adaptation of each plot of land to their own needs. The specificity of the environment (read above)  allows us to be audacious regarding the reduction of these treatments.
  • No green harvest (better to have a good reasoning during the first pruning...)

  • A systematic recording of all works in the vines in order to follow our schedule of conditions and trace-ability.
  • A reasonned stripping depending on the sunshine. Every year is different ... and we are heading into "global warming". The objective is to produce balanced and elegant wines,  not jam....

  • Constant care of our vines allows us to be certain of the great quality of the grapes and wines

If you have the good idea to come and visit us, we will be happy to show you all this in more details and explanations. Welcome to Chateau de la Vieille Chapelle

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Château de la Vieille Chapelle
Les Grands Blancs
Les Merlots de Baudet
Cuvée A&A


2 rue Florence Arthaud, Lieu-dit La Chapelle,
33240 Lugon et l’Ile du Carney - France

phone +33 (0)5 57 84 48 65

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