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Champagne Fleury, France – Jean-Pierre Fleury and Colette Fleury

February 1, 2012

Jean-Pierre Fleury took over the family estate in 1962, which was cultivated with the agro-chemical practices of the time. In the early 70s he heard about Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” which helped raise awareness of the harm that chemicals can cause in the field. At that same time, he began to explore the ideas and thoughts of Rudolf Steiner in education, medicine, nutrition and spirituality. In doing so, he became aware of biodynamics.

He conducted his first “organic agriculture” trial in 1976 at a time when it was not really fashionable, on a plot of his own vineyard, with the enthusiasm of a neophyte. The immediate adoption of organic practices without a transition period unfortunately resulted in a mildew attack. After that setback, he had to overcome parental resistance and find a compromise.  So, during the following several years he practiced what is now called “rational viticulture” (limited use of chemical treatments, weeding and mechanical tillage, organic fertilizer). The transition to biodynamic viticulture occurred in 1989.

Accompanied throughout by François Boucher, biodynamic wine grower and adviser for the conversion of his vineyards, Jean-Pierre first certified a small plot of vineyard.  Then, two years later the entire 13 hectares were converted and in so doing, Fleury became the first Champagne producer to be fully certified bio-dynamic.

Three other winegrowers of the village followed the same approach in the early 1990s, converting 25 hectares to biodynamic viticulture and helping to establish a small informal association where the vineyard work is jointly carried out.

In 1993 Jean-Pierre Fleury was elected “Winegrower of the Year” by GaultMillau.

“After more than 20 years of biodynamic practices we have a very living soil where the roots of the vine can grow deep and pick up the minerality and all the flavors of the Courteron terroir.”





From → Interviews

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