It’s now four and a half years since Brice and Lisa made their leap of faith and moved into Morlanche, with the dream of growing and making their own wine in the historic family cellars. We are so delighted to have them as dear friends and neighbours and have charted their progress, with all its ups and downs, in this blog. For the whole story, just click on Morlanche in the tag cloud on the right.
They have recuperated old vineyards, planted their own, battled with drought, wind and all the other challenges that beset winegrowers and organic ones in particular. They have done everything by hand and by themselves, only accepting help and extra arms when things were really critical – that’s not including the vendange, of course, which is always a massively convivial event.
And they are making excellent wine, which is gaining quite a following locally and further afield. They produce two cuvées, both Gamay. The smaller one, Morlanche, is made from the grapes of Brice’s grandfather’s vielles vignes above the house, whilst la Mouna is cultivated in the vineyards of a neighbouring hamlet. The 2018 harvest, their third vintage, yielded 3,500 bottles.
It is incredible the amount of work which is involved in wine making, especially if you are creating a new vineyard and simultaneously cultivating established ones. There is pruning to be done, tilling between the rows, spraying against disease – a minimum in organic production but some is still necessary – weeding, weeding, weeding, more pruning, tying up and watering the young plants whilst they get established. That’s just for starters.
Then the new vineyard has to be staked and wired – this is what they are doing at the moment, requiring 35 km of wire – whilst at the same time the cellars need to be checked constantly. Last year’s harvest is still in the vats, but soon the malo-lactic fermentation will have finished and the wine needs to be racked off into barrels, then bottled, each bottle corked by hand, dipped into hot wax to seal it, labelled and stored.
Then there’s all the paperwork (wine production is severely controlled and taxed in France) and finally you must not forget to sell it! Brice and Lisa did good business at the winter and Christmas markets and also sell directly from Morlanche and through selected wine merchants.
It’s a massive amount for two people to do.
So 2020 is going to be the big leap forward. With a total of nearly three hectares of vineyard and the 2018 plantation beginning to produce this autumn – that’s 2450 Gamay vines plus 627 Viogniers,1139 Marsannes et 1050 Roussannes – it’s time to invest in some machinery and mechanical help.
Having tried horsepower, a small cultivator and a tracked vehicle Brice and Lisa have decided to invest in a small tractor and various other equipment and for this they have launched a crowd funding page,
They describe their project and its different stages really well so do take a look for more amazing photos and a good French lesson for non native French readers! And of course if any of you felt like donating to this eminently worthwhile endeavour Brice and Lisa would be delighted!