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No debate here Jean-Marc. I agree with your thinking process.

Candice in NY


A recent article in the NY Times reported another problem--evolution is working quickly to develop weeds that are resistant to Mr. RoundUp. Might as well do it right in the first place, as you do. We proud to serve your wines in our glasses.


I meant to include the URL for the NY Times article:



Your view is, obviously, the most sane and sensible one as it will lead to stronger vines and better wine.


Dear Jean-Marc:

Your: "PS : Of course, this is only my opinion and I don't mean to say I am right on the subject" -
is truly unnecessary. I want to believe - and do so - that it truly IS your opinion and that you so strongly feel about being right on the subject that you act accordingly.
We are poisoning the earth enough already. I know that working ecologically sane is more work and probably less volume. But as a wine buyer, I have a choice - we all have a choice - and I am supporting those wine growers whose oenologic understanding runs hand in hand with the ecological one.


Miniature goats! Small goats that can only reach 70 centimeters high would eat all the tender grasses and weeds, and leave the tough stalks of the vines alone and could not reach high enough to nibble the new leaves coming from the canes. Un plaisanterie! Maybe rabbits! How about allowing rabbits to inhabit the area, they would eat the grasses but would never touch the trunks of the vines and couldn't reach the new leaves of the vines. And, the added benefits of allowing M. Lapin would be additional fertilizer and delicious dinners.

I notice you have tilled the soil between rows of vines, but, there is a narrow strip (equal to the width of the vines) of grasses and weeds that were not tilled. Can these 'survivors' rob enough moisture from the soils to harm the vines? Aren't the vines' roots much deeper than the surface weeds' roots? Don't you 'dry farm' allowing nature to provide water through rain storms and what seeped in to the soil over the winter and spring? And, isn't your climate somewhat dry during the summer months? So, the weeds would die off due to lack of moisture, no? Do you walk the length of each row with a hoe and cut the roots of the grasses and weeds? Is that too labor intensive?

Franklin Levin

Leave the "fall color" for the fall. Your way is the right way and the success of your wine is the proof. Here in the Columbia Gorge the dsame argument takes place among the stone fruit farmers and the grape farmers both. More and more vinyards and orchards are "going organic" each season so reason and the soft touch on the planet may be winning out. Bravo Jean-Marc for being at the head of the parade.


As a true "city slicker" I know nothing about farming, but what Romeo posted, about miniature goats is quite an intriguing idea. What are the pros and cons of that?

Additionally, Braise and Smokey could learn to become goat herders, and because you're not busy enough , you could have a little goat cheese business as well. Rouge Bleu Valencay anyone??? :)


I totally agree that going organic when possible is the best way to go. I will not even use roundup in my own yard. We have well water and I know that eventually the chemicals would find their way to my water. I pull weeds and try to use organic substances.



Can we assume, then, that wineries who are not certified organic are practicing "Mr. Roundup" in France? In California? In Washington and Oregon? Spain and South Africa too? Everywhere? Montsanto's reach is global, yet it is farmers like you and consumers like us who can help change things...if Mother Nature doesn't do it for us (by creating new and more powerful 'issues' in the name of balance).

RB aka Susan

Go with your gut - go organic as much as possible - this is your dream/desire and always has been!
Over here this side of the ocean you can buy an organic weed spray (at Home Depot) that is made out of a clove mixture - safe for pets incase they chew on the weeds/grass once sprayed! Smells lovely once sprayed and it really does work-quickly! Do you have anything like that? Wonder what that would do to the taste/future of RB?
RB in AZ

Rosalind Henderson Harris

This is your life, your passion, your expertise and your many years of experience. I support your decision and commend your commitment to a natural way of producing an excellent product. You chose the right label design...smile (it was my choice also) and I know you will do what's best for filling the bottles with an exceptional product. Thank you for sharing and for requesting our response.
Roz Harris

Mary Ann Waterman

Vouz avez raison! Round up is a menace to life; plant, animal and human. It should be banned across the globe.


Good for you, Jean-Marc. No Roundup! No Roundup-ready crops! Monsanto's way leads to monocultures and makes the global food supply more vulnerable.


I agree. Roundup is banned in many towns/cities here in Ontario and our wildlife is much better for it. This year there are more birds around and the butterflies are returning. Hooray!

Tim Stevens


Surely you are correct in your thinking. In a small way, you are also helping to combat global warming. Organic agriculture helps to build up carbon in the subsoil (e.g. better root systems and other organic matter) which is a much better place for it than in the atmosphere. Thanks for sharing your philosophy.



There are always residual problems when farmers resort to using chemicals for any farming function. In south Louisiana, farmers used anhydrous ammonia to fertilize sugar cane during my childhood...try to find a field of cane there now. Farmers also sprayed DDT on cotton crops...and the cancer rate doubled (it's banned now). People use Round-Up here in Virginia...in their gardens, and it washes down into the lake we live on. I think it's destroying the fish and plant life there; I see evidence of it after a every rain (belly-up fish, brown plants). And it lasts a LONG time. I commend your decision to go natural...it just makes sense; and it makes me more inclined to buy your wine. O.K., I was already pretty much inclined to do so. Keep up the good work...and come to Charlottesville when you are next in the states.


Jane Doe

But surely there must be a beneficial use for the vilified "mr roundup." Perhaps he could be instrumental in uprooting insidious life forms about the Palais de l'Élysée?

Philip Hicks, San Anselmo, CA

Great straight forward synopsis of Le Roondoop. When I give tours at Ravenswood Winery, guests frequently say how scruffy the vineyard looks. Just like you, we don't use Roundup and ferment with native yeasts. This benefits everyone.

Janine Cortell

Bonjour Jean-Marc
Thank goodness for people like you who want to continue to preserve nature as it is meant to be. I take my hat off to you for standing firm on this issue.
Toutes mes amities, Janine Cortell,
Port Townsend, Washington


I have used Roundup in the past along an alley-not in the garden itself. Now I use straight white vinegar for that area and also mossy walkways. Much better for the environment, just be careful not to get the vinegar water runoff near plants you want to keep. I have a hoe and I know how to use it to remove weeds in the garden. It seems to be constant work, but it is the safest for the good plants and the environment. If a farmer/grower can possibly keep their crops viable using natural weed/pest elimination that is the best. Thank goodness for ladybugs and other beneficial insects. The fewer chemicals we use the better. You are doing a great job Jean-Marc and I totally agree with your philosophy.

lou bogue

You went into the wine growing business with your intent on growing organic, you have kept to that concept and it has been very sucessful and hopefully other growers have been influenced with your philosophy and the whole area will be better off, for your natural way of producing good wine,stick to your beliefs and you will be a very happy man, much good luck and see you in Sept. best to you and yours, Lou

Carole Buschmann

Please continue on the initial route you selected. I have a small city plot here in the high Rockies, and I am only speaking of grass and native flowers.plants etc. I will not use material which will course down the city drains which will be a disaster in the runoff. We all must be wary and thoughtful. So please continue.

Sandy Maberly

Bravo, JM for taking a "controversial" stand for the sake of health and well being for mankind! Mark and I make a conscious effort to eat and drink (thanks to Rouge-Bleu)organically. Organic, fresh from the garden, Oklahoma veggies have amazing flavor and are complimented wonderfully by the terroir of the grapes of southern France. Perhaps if everyone ate and drank without pesticides infiltrating their systems we might eliminate the debilitating diseases of our modern society. (I agree with Candice. I think Braise and Smokey would make wonderful goat herding dogs and I think that Kristi would enjoy learning the cheese making trade.......not a bad idea :-)

Jim and Mary Scott

We applaud your willingness to do actual WORK instead of resorting to chemical shortcuts. We just returned from a few days in southwest Washington State celebrating Spring Release, and found many, if not most, of the vintners are practicing sustainable farming. Better yet, a growing number are using bio-dynamic methods, even in large vineyards. As consumers we face an amazing selection of wines from dozens of countries and literaly thousands of wine makers... there is no reason to buy poor wine, whether poor in quality or made using poor farming techniques. There is every reason to support ecologically sound and sustainable farming. We honor your passion and dedication to doing what is right.

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