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Domaine de La Touraize History

We have been wine-growers for eight generations. The death certificate of one of my ancestors, born in 1704, lists his profession as wine-grower.
My great grandfather at the end of the 19th century cultivated 15 acres of vines. In 1880 this was a respectable Domaine. My grandfather Marius followed his footsteps. In 1912, he left grape growing to start his military service for two years and then became involved in World War One. He would return to his vines in 1919. Having been gone for seven years, on his return he found that the vines had been neglected despite the effort of his wife and her sister and he had been traumatized by the horrors of war.
Marius and his family lived a very modest life on the domain until 1932. At this time he decided to cease his wine making and instead decided to join a wine cooperative. As the years go by my grandfather sold a large portion of his vines and advised his son against becoming a wine grower. In 1950 my father Michael decided to retake the domaine or what was left of it. He also joined the cooperative but he would dedicate his life to rebuilding the domain. In 1985 I joined my father and a good son like him became part of the cooperative. I then worked to grow the vineyards to 35 acres. As my 40th birthday approached, I had great questions!! Where am I going? Who am I? I wanted to take control of the destiny of my vines, my grapes and my wines. Yet for some years I hesitated until 2009 when I retook my independence and left the cooperative.
But I did not have a fermentation room, nor wine barrels, nor customers. I rented an old farm near Arbois, a wine producing friend lent me his wine press and I bought some used fermentation tanks and I produced my first harvests! In 2010 I sold 8 acres to finance part of my projects which included a fermentation room in 2011, a storage room in 2014 and in 2015 a tasting room.

My domain name I chose the name of La Touraize for my domaine. This is the name of the place belonging to my family in 1704 and these are the only vines that my grandfather had kept and which my father had used to begin his profession as a wine producer.

My logo When I was a child and my father would plough his plot of land, I would follow behind the plough to gather the beautiful pebbles (ammonites) that the plough would bring up to the top of the soil. For me this was like a treasure hunt; a gift from the land. When I started the domain I searched for a sign, a logo and my wife, who saw the pebbles everywhere in our house, suggested that I use Ammonite as my symbol!

My observation There are three essential conditions for producing good wine: Grapes, Grapes, Grapes!! I can bring my harvest to the cellar but the potential is determined on the vines.

My method of wine growing Work the soil and the grass between the rows. Use weed killing chemicals under the rows (20 cm in width) once a year (weed killer without residual material/ground water). Protect the vines from May to July with a reduced dosage from -50% to -20% according to the recommended dosages and climatic conditions. Since 2015 I have cultivated eight acres by biodynamic means without seeking biodynamic accreditation.

My winemaking Grapes hand-picked (except for the harvest of the Savagnin grape) and selected in the cellar. Grapes pressed in whole clusters for fermentation of white wines and aging in barrels with fermentation by indigenous yeasts. Grapes hand-picked and hand selected with fermentation tanks gravity filled for red wines. Carbon dioxide used to limit the amount of sulfur dioxide.

My philosophy No dogma, no dogma, no dogma!!!

The numbers Today I cultivate 30 acres of vines (20 acres which I own and 10 acres which I rent) with two employees. I cultivate 20 acres for wine production myself and I sell the production of 10 acres to a wine merchant. This gives me the ability to grow. In 2015 I sold 23,000 bottles and I cultivated 290 hectoliters of wine. Personal information
In June of 2016, my wife Helena, a nurse by profession, joined me in my venture on a part time basis. Between 2016 in 2017 we hope to complete the evolution of our domain so she can become involved on a full time basis. My objectives for 2016 through 2019 To produce between 7,000 gallons and 8,500 gallons of wine each year. At the end of 2019 my goal is to sell 35,000 bottles of wine.

AOP: Arbois (Jura)

Vintage: 2014

Grape: 100 % Savagnin

Yield: 30 hl / ha (2 tons/acre)

Age of vines: 6 years

Manual harvesting: harvest tray 20 kg (prevend to squeeze or damage the grapes)

Pressing: complete bunches of grapes (pneumatic press)

Debourbage: Natural, (by gravity), 24 hours in stainless steel tanks, to clear the juice

Fermentation: with indigenous yeasts. Start of fermentation in stainless steel tanks (2-3 days) with temperature control of 15 C. The rest of the alcoholic and the malolactic fermentation are in oak barrels of 600 liters (no new oak, to avoid the taste of oak, but barrels already used for 3-4 years) and aging ‘sur lie’. No racking and no batonnage and we top up the barrels every week until bottling.

Additives: between 5-6 gram of sulphur during vinification. No other additives.

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