Marie-Lise and Thomas Batardiere

A native of Angers, Thomas Batardier was not born into a winemaking family, as is more common in wineries found in this and other old world regions. His first studies were in the Arts, where he received a Bachelors degree in 1998. He then studied at the Ecole de Louve until 2001, before moving on to study Film at the University Tours in Aix en Provence, graduating in 2005. He kicked around for a bit, working as a cinematographer among other things, until he found himself being drawn into the world of wine. It began with some cellar work in Tours in 2007, and by 2008 he had achieved his first sommelier certification while still working with wineries, selling organic and natural wines, and of course some restaurant work as well.

He took on his first real apprenticeship with Mathieu Vallée at Château Yvonne, while also taking the Viticulture course in Beaune from 2009 to 2011.  After his graduation and the three years of working with Mathieu Vallee, Thomas struck out on his own, purchasing two hectares of old vine Chenin Blanc that he discovered in the village of Rablay sur Layon in Anjou.

This area is something of a cradle for bio/organic/natural wines, and with his very first strike upon the soil in 2012, Thomas practiced biodynamic viticulture and became Demeter certified with his 2015 vintage. Today, he works a total of 3.5 hectares: 2.5 of Chenin, .85 of Grolleau, and .15 of Cabernet Franc.  When he began in 2012, as he puts it, it was without a cave, without a house, without a tractor-  just a pruner and those two hectares of vines. But by 2014 he had set up his winery in the heart of the village of Rablay sur Layon.

"Biodynamics aims to heighten the general acoustics. Meaning that it allows the vines to communicate better with their environment, more deeply from the earth to the cosmos. Biodynamics also allows the winemaker and the plants to better interact. For this, three fundamental practices are at work: the 500, 501, and Maria Thun.
The 500 is cow manure in a cow horn that is buried during autumn and winter. This preparation aims to better communicate with the earth. It’s sprayed in spring.
The 501 is silica and quartz in a cow horn that is buried during spring and summer. This helps the vine to better communicate with its astral environment, air, vibrations, and the vibes and movements of the planets. It’s sprayed during spring and summer, during the period of vegetation.
Finally, Maria Thun is a compost of cow manure that receives all of the preparations. It’s a compost made in summer and sprayed after harvest.
Biodynamics brings life to the plant, the parcel, and the entire domaine, leaving it more rich and complex. And that shows in the wines. A living wine is better expressed and with a greater variety.”

Learn a lot about biodynamic farming in this video featuring Thomas amongst other well-known vignerons of the Loire