Producing wine: what does that mean exactly?
Wine producer and winegrower mean more or less the same job. It revolves around the day-to-day management of the wines we own: farming them and then turning the grapes into wine. At Gabriel Meffre, this means knowing our environment inside and out in an effort to help us craft the finest wines.
Understanding the raw materials, i.e. the different grape varieties and the soils in which the vines are planted, is therefore paramount. At our winery, we have the utmost respect for the terroir, which covers a soil, a grape variety and a climate. These are the essential elements for producing good grapes and, by extension, a wine of excellent quality.
More broadly, our approach to this activity is firmly grounded in our respect for the environment. If we want to keep our local countryside healthy and diverse, we have an important role to play. Our strong commitment to the environment not only embraces the 72 hectares of vines owned by us but is also shared by all our partner winegrowers.
What can we learn from the earth?
At Domaine de Longue Toque, our winery has been working with a reknown ‘oeno-geologist’, Mr Georges Truc, to study the relationships between our soil, subsoil, vines and wines. Assisted by our staff, he has conducted a deep soil analysis in soil pits to determine what type of ‘food’ and in which environment the roots of our vines would best thrive. This scientific process was valuable for enlightening us on how to adjust our vine-growing methods and choose the most suitable grape varieties for the soil type.
For example, we have decided to grow white grapes right at the top of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains, where the limestone-rich soils and cool climate are perfectly suited to them.
So what is the secret to a good wine producer?
First of all, passion! Love for the product itself... and patience. Agriculture is a sector in which time is an important factor. While we may be rich in expertise, by no means do we do everything alone – nature is also part of the team.
As such, knowing how to stay calm is an important skill for tackling any unexpected change of circumstances (weather, vine diseases, etc.). If a serious climatic incident occurs, we must be capable of adapting to the situation and making fast decisions while remaining objective.
The team is the driving force of our Winery, the different departments interacting with one another. Everything is closely interconnected, from the first grape on the vine up to the bottling.
Our wine-producing expertise is the catalyst for the rest of our extended range of activities. It also opened the way to taking on the occupation of merchant/grower in partnership with other winegrowers who share our values. Another facet of our winery that we will talk about soon.