Only mature and healthy grapes can yield great wines. The more concentrated the fruit, the greater the expression of the terroir. This is why we limit our yields to below the levels established by the INAO. Yields for our Grands Crus never exceed 45 to 50 hectolitres per hectare and we make our estate wines according to Grand Cru standards.
Pruning: Our vines are short pruned and the canes cut back to half size. This way, we eliminate the tip which is the most productive part of the vine and as such, gives the lowest quality. Ordinary pruning leaves 11 to 12 buds but short pruning leaves only 7 or 8.
Grass growing: Leaving grass between one out of two rows of vines renders the vine less productive. It therefore produces fewer bunches and these grapes are smaller and therefore richer in sugar, they also have thicker skins.
Crop thinning: At fruit set, at the beginning of August, if nature has been too generous, we eliminate some of the bunches to promote maturity and concentrate the vine’s richness in a smaller quantity of fruit.
Organic soil fertilization: Only natural fertilizers are used in order to maintain the soil’s biological balance and the typicity of the terroir (organic matter such as grass cut from rows between the vines and crushed vine prunings).
Controlled usage of vine treatment products: We employ these products sparingly. For example, we use a decoy to combat the grape worm which allows us to determine the level of treatment required at any given moment for maximum efficiency. We prefer to till our vines and leave rows of grass between them rather than weeding them completely. Tilling and grassing force the vine to plunge its roots deeper into the ground; the wines will therefore reflect the complexity of the soils in the vineyards at Riquewihr. Grassing is the best solution to the problem of hillside erosion.
Vine shoots selected from old vines allow us to replant the original variety in its terroir. Contrary to clonal selection, mass selection preserves the personality and diversity of our graftings and gives lower yields (small grapes).