In the picturesque region of the lower Loire, one winery stands out as an exemplar of innovation and sustainability. Domaine des Deux Moulins, led by visionary winemaker Daniel Macault, has set a high bar for future-proofing their 74 hectares of vines against the challenges posed by climate change. Through meticulous experimentation and a deep commitment to ecological practices, this vineyard has become a model for others to follow.
At Domaine des Deux Moulins, sustainability is not just a buzzword; it’s a way of life. Two hectares of the vineyard have been dedicated to experimentation, providing a space for Macault to explore and implement cutting-edge sustainable practices. One of the most remarkable initiatives is the introduction of cider apple trees among the vines.
Through years of dedicated work, Macault and his team have found the optimal density and management routine to harmoniously integrate cider apple trees into the vineyard. Resilient old cider varieties, similar to the vines, are chosen, and no irrigation is provided. This strategic decision not only minimizes water consumption but also adds valuable habitat and relief to the landscape. The apple trees have become vital bat roosts, contributing to the preservation of local biodiversity.
Domaine des Deux Moulins recognizes that a thriving ecosystem is essential for the health and sustainability of the vineyard. To this end, they allow inter-row grasses to grow uncut in every other row. This simple yet effective practice increases insect density by an astounding 20 times compared to the mowed rows. The abundance of insects benefits both the vines, as they control pests naturally, and the resident bats, who find a rich food source in the vibrant grasses.
In addition to its sustainability efforts, Domaine des Deux Moulins is also committed to producing exceptional organic wines. Christel Renaud, a renowned wine lecturer and researcher from l’Ecole Superieure d’Agricultures (ESA), has partnered with the vineyard to share her expertise on œnologies – the study of winemaking techniques – with students and visitors. The result is a range of organic wines that not only meet the highest standards of sustainability but also offer delightful flavors that showcase the region’s unique terroir.
Domaine des Deux Moulins has become a beacon of innovation, sustainability, and biodiversity in the lower Loire. Daniel Macault’s dedication to future-proofing his vineyard against climate change is evident through his integration of cider apple trees, the promotion of inter-row grasses, and the cultivation of organic wines. This remarkable vineyard serves as an inspiration to the wine industry, showing that it is possible to create exquisite wines while caring for the environment and preserving biodiversity. As other winemakers follow in the footsteps of Domaine des Deux Moulins, we can look forward to a more sustainable and resilient future for vineyards around the world.
You can learn more about Domaine des Deux Moulins on their website.
I and my students use quantitative analyses of food and wine production systems to reveal linkages between ecological and social sustainability, “quality”, and the primacy of place … “Ecogastronomy”
Dr. John Volpe