The 2023 Vintage: a Year of Challenges & Elegance

The 2023 vintage proved to be a story of contrasts, alternating between scarcity and the promise of a regeneration, revealing the extent of challenges awaiting agriculture as a whole.

It started with the second consecutive year of persistent winter drought, casting a worrisome shadow on our harvest’s prospects. The first four months witnessed a significant rainfall deficit, exacerbating concerns about soil water reserves. The intense level of Mistral winds in April amplified concerns by further drying out the already parched lands. At this point we started to worry about the vines’ health.

The month of May brought temporary relief in the form of long-awaited, albeit sporadic, rains. However, this respite was accompanied by hailstorms, damaging the leaves and creating an environment conducive to fungi. Downy mildew, in particular, flourished, foreshadowing significant repercussions on yields, especially for the young vines. Our team fought, sometimes day and night, to save the harvest, and I particularly want to thank our drivers and our young program manager Montaine for never giving up.

The summer unfolded relatively moderately, blessing us with cool nights, though not without a twist — a heatwave swept through in the second half of August. Fortunately, it was tempered by the sea breezes in the Costières de Nîmes region. The temperate summer coupled with the rejuvenated soil water reserves, enabled the vines to resist gracefully and bring their grapes to perfect maturity.

The harvest, anticipated with some apprehension, began with the inaugural picking of Viognier on August 23rd (a week later than in 2022). Subsequently, two intense weeks of harvesting ensued, in which the bulk of our whites and rosés were picked. The healthy condition of the grapes was accompanied by an admirable sugar/acid equilibrium reminiscent of the favorable conditions observed in 2021. Alcohol levels came in at a reasonable range of 12 to 13.5%. The wines exude a vibrant freshness, and their profiles resonated with a lively dynamism, aligning perfectly with our preferences.

For the reds, a ten-day break was instituted to encourage optimal maturation of the tannins and allow the double shift working cellar team to catch a breath. The cool summer nights had a crucial influence on their rich color and the development of refined tannins. The reds offer a complex and nuanced sensory palette and have the prospects of aging very well.

Thus, the 2023 vintage, despite its difficult beginnings, emerged as a viticultural tale where the staunch commitment of our talented and passionate team permitted us to overcome the whims of a nature that is disrupted by climate change. The resulting wines, though having endured the havoc of this year’s elements, embody a promise of character and authenticity, faithfully reflecting the tumult of this memorable year.



Do grape vines need irrigation ?

In this current context of drought, the debate has come front and center in many parts of our planet. Opinions, often formulated with absolute certainties, are often linked to past weather patterns and whether or not there is enough access to fresh water for irrigation.

In our Mediterranean climate, the grape vine is one of the cultivated plants with a low demand for water. But like all plants, a grape vine needs water for its photosynthesis, for the building of its tissues, for feedings its fruits and in order to regulate its temperature.

Until now, in most of France, the annual rainfall, measured both in quantity and distribution over time, was sufficient to ensure the healthy development of the grape vine. The soils were able to store enough water during the winter period to make it available to the roots during the dry season.

Unfortunately, the dry-farming vines in our region is endangered today because of two effects :

o Firstly, the depletion of our soils’ organic matter since the advent of mineral fertilizers. This organic matter, combined with the clay in the soil, forms the “clay-humus complex” : a veritable sponge and biomass support, storing water and minerals made available to the plant.

o Secondly, climate change, with its sharp decrease in annual rainfall over the past 25 years, its increasingly frequent droughts that last significantly longer, and its protracted heat waves have made naturally occurring water scarcer than ever in our modern period.

The result is that our soils have a much lower water retention capacity than 50 years ago, and the problem is growing more acute.

Regenerative agriculture responds to these two issues cultivating permanent cover crops between the rows of vines. This will substantially improve its soil’s organic matter.

However, an old French adage says “you have to sow before you can reap.”. When moving from tilling to no-tilling with covered soil we’ve actually increased the need for water. Indeed, the cover crops compete with the vines by drawing water from the soil.

However, over the next 3 to 5 years, the cover crops will increase the rate of organic matter in the soil and will therefore increase its water retention capacity. Ultimately, our goal is to no longer irrigate our vines, or as little as possible. This is why we have chosen to irrigate our vineyards with cover crops in the short-term.

We benefit from the Bas-Rhône Languedoc Irrigation Canal. The canal, designed to supply regional farmers, is a source of fresh water from the Rhône just before it empties into the sea. Of course, we have chosen the most frugal method of water distribution: drip irrigation. We also make it our mission to meet the needs of the vine as accurately as possible with the help of modern technologies : soil capacity probes, observation by leaf pressure chambers, as well as weather stations in our vineyards. By controlling the level of water stress in the vine, we maintain optimum grape quality.

The other important benefit of this approach is that by increasing organic matter in our soils we can actually trap more carbon from the atmosphere and bury it beneath our feet thanks to the photosynthesis of cover crops. This is just one example of how we farmers can contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect which is playing such havoc with our environment worldwide.

At our own level, we’re trying to do what we can for our planet


  • Mas de Nages
  • Chemin des Canaux
  • 30132 Caissargues
  • France
  • Tel: +33 4 66 38 44 30
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