« Farming debate | Main | Taking Care of our Babies »


Rob Durrett

Jean-Marc....we had great time visiting over lunch and tour last week ...while traveling France...you and Kristin made quiet impression on our group of 12 from Tennessee... your passion is very evident...thanks for the hospitality...good luck & take care... Rob Durrett/ Nashville Tennessee

Jacqui McCargar

Dear Jean-Marc,
As you well know we share your passion for the old vine and really hate to see change just for the sake of change! I have been enjoying the 2009 Dentelle Rose this week and look forward to seeing the 2009 Mistral soon I hope. I can't wait to taste the wine that we all worked so hard on harvesting.
Take care and hope to see you and Kristi soon.
Jacqui McCargar/ Sonoma County California

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thanks Rob and Jacqui. How are Chuck's Dear old vines ?


Jean Marc your message rings true not only for vineyards, but for farming as a whole.
In our village grapes were part of the landscape...they are nearly all gone.
I hope this trend to cash in on old vines ends... but unfortunately money and politics talk, or I should say: Sing to the tune of the pied piper.


Rouge Bleu was a big hit with my Washington DC friends, who kept saying: this is A REALLY good wine. I will head down to Cleveland Park for a case. Judi Asner

lou bogue

You know I"m with you on keeping the old vines, Yes money and politics wield a big stick and take in the weak, they always have and will continue but the strong carry on and you are one of the strong, I am planning my trip to be with you some time in Sept. spending the first few days in London and a week in Hamburg, then the train to Avignon, then up to visit you and the family, hopefully in time for the harvest, my friend from London and my friend from Hamburg are coming down to meet you and spend some time later, keep up your life"s work the natural way you have invision from the start, my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family every day.Bonne chance A bientot Lou Bogue

Alvin Solomon

Bonjour Jean Marc,
As you may remember, I live half time in the south of France (Eguilles) with my French friend Denise. We plan to be back in France in July, and would like to visit you at a time you find convenient.
I am still interested in planting a small hobby vineyard on a terraced south-facing slope, so this is certainly not an old vine project.
I would also like to taste your wines!
A bientot j'espere.

Sandy Maberly

JM, thanks for keeping us abreast of the latest travesty being mounted against the wine industry in
France. It is unfortunate to find that the power of money could undermine such a foundation of the French culture.
We are lucky to have you and others like you, defending your ground and enabling us to continue enjoying the fruits of your labor. I look forward to adding my support during the vendange this September.

Tim and Lauren Averill

Thanks for letting us know about the many ways that machine farming is encroaching on the hand crafted work that you do. We treasure your wines and your integrity.

Debbie S

Hello JM: Is there anything we can do to help stop the destruction of the old vines? Perhaps a petition to sign to present to the legal authorities?


Keep the old vines alive!! Do we kill our grandparents because they don't work as hard?
No, we treasure them and the fine stories they tell us of our heritage just as the vines do!


Viva les vielles vignes! :)

Pat Cargill

Thanks for the update and let me add another voice of support for your dedication to the art of winemaking. We appreciate your efforts and enjoy your wines.

Jennifer in OR

Keep fighting the good fight.

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

After thoroughly enjoying your rosé last summer, I opened my first bottle of your 07 Mistral tonight. Thank you, it is very special and a wonderful wine, Jean-Marc. I'd been saving it for a special occasion and today, a friend stopped by in need of creating just that. I thank you for honoring the old vines and organic farming methods. I am surprised, and saddened to hear this commercialization has made it to the vineyards of Provence. Keep following your heart and we'll keep buying your cherished wine.


From a microbial ecology perspective of the rhizosphere (root zone) of grapes, it would appear that you have a solid argument against pulling old vines out. The rootstock has a mature relationship with the microbial community that evolves not over days or months, but years. It changes the both the root zone chemistry of the bacteria, yeast and fungi, and it also changes the chemistry of the grape plant, in stems, leaves and fruit.

The old farming methods emphasized the importance of this soil-plant complexity and valued the old root stock, which is the primary reason for using grafting methods of young scions onto old rootstock, to 'refresh' and 'improve' plant health and vigor.

In the world of tea bush farming, this is exceptionally important, because the flavor of the tea leaves under identical harvesting and processing methods, will change dramatically over a 10-18 year period of rootzone-plant maturation. The compounds found in the older plants cannot be duplicated in younger plants, regardless of leaf processing tricks employed (including additives).

Moreover, heavy disturbance of the microbial community by pulling up extensive root systems and then mortarboard or deep drill plowing will severely disturb and short-circuit the turnover of carbon and nitrogen in these soils. The disturbance takes years to re-establish functional interaction with communities that form at depth, associated with slowly expanding and maturing root systems of the grape vines.

More importantly, this physical and chemical disturbance breaks up benign microbial community groups and allows pathogens an opportunity to take up niches normally occupied by benign/good microbes.

Plant health is then at risk until the disturbed soils 'settle down', a very lengthy process. Meanwhile, the microbes that help the plant to become established must compete with other bacteria, yeast, fungi for it's place within soil aggregates (particles).

Soil aggregate structure is also damaged, because water retention in these soils is controlled by the root zone microbial community, in that these organisms produce biopolymers (exopolymers) that cement soil grains together and bind water within these aggregates.

So, the disturbance caused by pulling up and discarding older vine root stock carries many penalties and few benefits. You are correct in your assertions; I give you ammunition to fight the Good Fight, Jean-Marc.

The comments to this entry are closed.