A NEW LIFE
After tossing in their thriving careers and leaving Paris for a less affluent but more meaningful life in the beautiful town of Mote near Faye d'Anjou, the two Dedoutbertins spent years in internships at other local wineries, honing their craft as farmers and winemakers. The wine they would make had to be natural wine, this much was clear, but soon a picture emerged of a winery that wasn't just going to talk the talk: organic, no sulfur, minimalist equipment and no burning of fossil fuels in the process.
This means caring for horses instead of machines, bicycling to and from the vineyard, minimalist equipment, no chemicals, not even sulfur.
"We are very demanding about the grapes we bring to the press" Stephanie emphasizes, "then we press slowly to preserve the integrity of the grape. After press we immediately put the juice into a barrel. That's it. Easy.."
Clean grapes and a slow 24 hour long pressing in a primitive but effective old basket press yield clean and pure juice that does not require any settling. Instead it goes straight into the barrel and ferments at its own accord, often for many months. "We listen to the barrel and when it goes quiet fermentation stopped and we put the wine into bottles, without sulfur.
"We make much less now but we are much happier." says Vincent.
100% HORSE PLOWED
While in the old days the horse was the vineyard machine of choice (or not, depending how you look at it), the tractor quickly replaced the equine vineyard worker, for reasons that seem all too obvious. And to this date very few domains exist worldwide that have reintroduced the horse to pull the plow and turn the soil.
Of those few, almost all also make use of a tractor. Some, one might add, keep the horse around for show effect and photo ops but still rely on the tractor for their day to day vineyard management.
At Deboubertin no tractor exists.
Anathol, a 5year old stallion, does all the work so far and will be joined by xy later this summer (as of 2016). Winemakers Stephanie Debou and Vincent Bertin (get it, Deboubertin...) are there to help him do his work and eagerly point out that it's not the other way around. "Anatol is part of the team and thrives on doing a great job. He wants to please. And we help him, praise him and make sure he gets the support he needs to do his job to his own expectations".
To get Anatol to this level the Deboutbertins worked hard with the stallion. After learning the art of training and working with a vineyard horse, they spent a good year on getting Anathol used to the collar and harness and teaching him how to keep his head in the direction the plow needs to go. When they speak of him and seemingly with him, it's blatantly obvious that Anatol is more than just a workhorse but a family member with his own set of rights, one that gets a lot of attention and love and gives back happily and without attitude or horsing around.