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Vine management worthy of a Cru Classé for precise, consistent, haute-couture wines, such is the philosophy of Château BROWN. According to Jean-Christophe Mau, “90% of the potential of each vintage comes from the vines”, so it is of the utmost importance for him to be present at each and every stage in the making of his wines.
The work on the vines is enhanced each year by new know-how contributed by each of the members of the team, in particular Bruno Patrouilleau – Vineyard Manager and Cellar Master – with his twenty years of experience, who assists JC Mau in his uncompromising quest to shape ambitious wines.
Château Brown has been actively engaged since 2012 in a sustainable agriculture process, gradually introducing an Environmental Management System into its daily work.
As another logical step, Château Brown then committed to the process of gaining HEV certification, which it was granted in January 2018.
Château Brown is aiming to go even further towards creating and developing a real natural ecosystem and fighting against monoculture, so has continued to set up various campaigns promoting the estate’s biodiversity: in the vines with cover crops and reduced use of plant protection products, or alongsides the vines with the installation of beehives, flower farm or bat and tit boxes.
The BROWN vineyard is constantly evolving: each plot is examined with care (and drained if it’s necessary) before being replanted.
This focus on excellence also applies to all the work on the vines, which is adapted with care to each vintage.
Ploughing is carried out in a resoned manner in order to preserve the soil organic matter. They replace the use of weed-killer, they enhance aeration of the soils and encourage deep vine root development, thus avoiding water stress in very hot years.
Yields are controlled and limited to 39 hectolitres per hectare for reds and 35 for whites (average since 2005). These yields and the good health of the vines are the result of work carried out throughout the vegetation cycle of the vine, again adapted to the conditions of the vintage: pruning, bud removal, leaf stripping and green harvesting.
The grapes are harvested by hand, of course, using small trays, sometimes in several successive operations as the grapes reach perfect ripeness. Red and white grapes alike are sorted on the vines by the fifty-or-so harvesters employed each year.
In the winery, for the reds, another rigorous selection has been done thanks to the optical sorting. It eliminates any grapes that are not up to standard, along with any leaves or petioles that still remain. This sterling work is repeated each year to ensure that the wines are perfectly respectful of the fruit.
Plot selection among the 31 hectares on the estate allocates an average of 70% of the harvest to the Grand Vin (80,000 bottles of red, 20,000 bottles of white) and 20% to the second wine.