In 2010, the estate grew from 5.7 to 8 ha. The Sainte-Barbe estate and that of my parents' had merged to give the new Chaland estate. Taking over 2.3 hectares in addition to what I had was a maximum because I wish to control all the vine's work so as to go on with the organic approach initiated in 2003. My family stopped working with the cooperative cellar in 1967 but we have always respected soils and no weed-killer has been used since that time. I have adopted these principles too and was granted the certified organic label in 2006. I was the first estate within the Viré-Clessé appellation to obtain that certification.
We use almost 100% Chardonnay on our estate, three quarters of our vines produce Viré-Clessé and the rest produces Mâcon-Villages and Mâcon-Burgy with a plot of gamay. Our vines are over 50 years old on average and all come from a mass selection. We select the woods in our vines so that a nursery-man can achieve proper graftings.
We have 6,500 vine-stocks per hectare. Our vines are ploughed after the harvest, then a light earthing-up is carried out and then our vines are scraped from March to July. I let the grass grow naturally in the rows and mow it if necessary from July. All the 'green work' is achieved by hand: disbudding, removing the unwanted new shoots and tying-up. Our grapes are hand-picked by a small, local staff who get to work when physiological maturity has been reached - ripe pips. I'm not looking for over-ripe grapes but rather for balance, minerality.
The wine-making process is traditional. We use a pneumatic press with cycles of 4 to 5 hours so as not to let pressure rise too much, then a cold settling is carried out, then fermentation with indigenous yeasts. No sugar is added nor any other product, apart from sulfur to preserve the expression of terroir. Our plot selections, such as l'Epinet, Thurissey and Perrières, are aged in oak but with only 2 or 3 new casks a year for all the cellar, so that wood aromas do not prevail in our wines. The 'lieux-dits' are neither filtered nor fined as they are bottled after 15 or 16 months of aging whereas our cheaper wines ferment and settle in vats. Our production is under 40,000 bottles; most of which is exported.