Making great wine requires skill and passion. The team at Domaine MIA lacks neither. Among the people involved in growing grapes, there is one person of the utmost importance: the vineyard manager. Let's meet Alain Charleux, vineyard manager at Domaine MIA.
you are the vineyard manager at Domaine MIA, can you explain us quickly what are your missions within the Domaine?
Generally speaking, the vineyard manager is the person who organizes all the work in the vineyard in order to obtain good quality grapes.
At Domaine MIA, my mission is even more demanding because we cultivate our vineyards in organic farming and we are moving towards biodynamics. That is to say that we take into account all that Nature can offer us to obtain the best grapes.
In short, my work must guarantee the excellence of the quality of the grapes that will go into the elaboration of our wines.
You seem to be passionate about organic farming and respect for the earth, can you tell us more? Where does this passion come from?
It really comes from my personal convictions. I grew up in contact with nature, surrounded by animals. I am the son and grandson of farmers, respect for nature and biodiversity are in my DNA.
So naturally, I put it into practice in my work. In organic farming, we are as close as possible to nature and our way of working on the soil and the plants has a direct impact on our environment and its future. This is done by taking care of the land, but also by practices such as ploughing with a horse to respect the soil of our plots where our young vines grow, the use of compost as a natural fertilizer that recycles our vine shoots and the installation of beehives in order to protect the species and biodiversity.
Since 2008, we have been working with organic farming methods and our estate is certified since 2011. My main objective has always been to improve the quality of our soils for high quality grapes and wines. Today, with Mia, we want to go even further to allow the terroir to express itself and reduce our impact on the environment; we have therefore chosen to work in biodynamics.
Let's talk about biodynamics. How does it translate at Domaine MIA ?
Biodynamic viticulture is still little practiced and little known in France.
It is a principle of farming that emphasizes the fact that all farmland must be considered as a living organism, autonomous and diversified. It seems important to me to reintroduce the animal to the vineyard and recreate a whole ecosystem.
Biodynamics also takes into account the influence of the Moon and its calendar, which means that we follow the rhythm of Nature and its energies. For example, there are days that are more favorable for planting ("root" days), and others for working the wines ("fruit" days).
The cycles of the Moon also influence the internal activity of the wine. Therefore, in our wineries, we also take care to plan some of our handling operations according to that, for example.
At Domaine MIA, the transition to biodynamics is done step by step. For example, we have already started to treat our vines with biodynamic preparations that increase the biological activity of the soil and harmonize plant growth. These preparations based on plants or natural materials such as horn manure, silica, horsetail or camomile, promote the structure of the soil and strengthen root growth.
Step by step, our vocation is to continue along this path to achieve a natural balance and limit human intervention and thus obtain the DEMETER label, perfectly in line with our convictions.
How do you see the future of Domaine MIA's vineyard and culture?
Making a transition is not something that can be done in a blink of an eye. Nature imposes its tempo on us and we progress according to the seasons and our teachings. It is also very important for me to take the time to master each of these new practices.
As I was saying, biodynamics is still not widespread, beyond our personal convictions, the public's expectations are high and this requirement motivates us and makes us progress even faster.
I am convinced that we are on the right track for an even more respectful culture of the vine and a wine always more qualitative.