Charter of Artisans Vignerons de Bourgogne du Sud

« Les Artisans Vignrons de Bourgogne du Sud » is an association created in January 2004 by fourteen vignerons of the Mâcon Region. The association’s motive is to promote and develop Mâconnais wine that is raised following sustainable farming principles and respecting the diversity of the terroirs.

The most of us have known each other for a number of years now, it seemed natural to collectively take part in the Groupement d’Etude et de Suivi des Terroirs (G.E.S.T.). The G.E.S.T. is an association that was created in the Côte d’Or Region in 1995, to monitor terroirs, that expanded to include the Mâconnais Region in 2000. We were all well aware of the important role the soil played in the quality of the terroir and of the wine it produced. Working within the G.E.S.T. association made us realize just how essential it was to define an organic and cultural management of our soil to ensure its longevity.

Soil plays a fundament role in the regulation of the necessary nutritive elements for the plant. A well-regulated soil is able to temper climate variations, enabling the plant to feed regularly and bring the grapes to their optimal maturity. Our organic management of the soil is based on detailed knowledge of each plot, taking into consideration its geology, pedology and dynamic structure, in order to offer the most suitable response to each situation.

The Mâconnais Region is comprised of a multitude of situations ideal for raising Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir. From North to South, our region is a patchwork of very different soils and sub-soils, sun exposure and landscapes. All these plots can produce wines that fall under the same appellation but they have very specific personalities that we are committed to cultivating and developing as honestly and truthfully as possible.

So we got together around our « quarternary formations of indeterminate age »: lime conglomerates, layers of clay, alluvium or granite horizons. Inspecting root profiles in our vineyards made us realize that knowledge and the cultivation of our soils is the only way to produce a natural wine that expresses and embodies all a terroir holds.

Bourgogne rouge, Beaujolais-Villages, Moulin-à-Vent, Mâcon-Villages, Mâcon-Chaintré, Mâcon-Cruzille, Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse, Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine, Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Saint-Véran, Viré-Clessé-each one of us are unique in the appellations we produce as well as in the roads we have travelled, but we all share the greatest respect for the value of the wine we make, for the vines we grow and for the soil they are rooted in.

Some of us are from families of generations of winemakers, others come from different backgrounds and have done all in their power to make their dream trade come true, yet others have returned to homelands were family lands laid dormant for ages. The choice to create an association together stems from our pleasure in spending good time together- something we hope to preserve. We want our association to be welcoming and dynamic and hope that our projects (wine tasting as well and tours and meetings) can be done in collaboration with other qualified organisations in our region.

We work together, sharing the same values and goals, considering certain aspects of our craft as fundamental. The soil was at the root of it all but we all share the same phytosanitary protection methods geared towards respecting the environment and preserving the ecosystem’s diversity. We all agree to continue manually harvesting, respecting the grape and preserving the symbolic and social values that grape harvesting holds in our culture. We aspire each and every year to harvest a perfectly mature grape, and we are willing to take considerable risks in order to attain this goal.

Nonetheless our distinct personalities make for differences as well, reflected in our work methods and our choices. Research on over-ripeness, the use of wood and maturing and refining length are examples of things we do differently, this seems perfectly normal to us.

We are proud and lucky to be able to practice this trade, we are also aware of our role as conservationists of the unique heritage of this landscape, its culture and the enjoyment it procures. We owe it to our ancestors and to future generations to tend to it responsibly.

Our production choices take all of this into consideration, working the vines as craftsmen ensures our presence in every step in the growing and winemaking process.

Les Artisans Vignerons de Bourgogne du Sud, March 19th, 2004