Paroles de vignerons - Vinparleur - Winzer talk

An indian in Gigondas - Charcoal and compost for the vineyards of Santa Duc

31 March 2013, by Sebastian Nickel, Domaine Santa Duc

To improve soil structure and vitality we regularly spread compost in our vineyards during winter. Compost contains organic materials and important minerals for plant growth, but also shows high water storage capacity. The latter improves water supply, especially beneficial to plants during summer.
Earlier this year, an article on a 3000 year old farming technique from the Pre-Columbian era caught our attention: adding a mixture of charcoal and compost to the soils to create what’s called Terra preta, the “black soil”.

Terra Preta Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas

Due to its high porosity, charcoal may store up to five times its own weight in water and redistribute this water in times of drought. Charcoal also retains minerals and enhances proliferation of microorganisms. What’s more, charcoal actually sequesters carbon, which will be fixed in the soils and not be released into the atmosphere. A moderate contribution against global warming…

Terra preta Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas

In spring we have asked to…… to develop a Charcoal-Compost-Mixture for our vineyards. It took a couple of months, but then …… was born. We will spread 10 tons per hectare of charcoal-enriched compost in our vineyards this winter. An important and expensive investment for our estate, which will keep our soils alive, guarantee harmonious plant growth and producing balanced grapes in the future.



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Champagne J.Vignier


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Le Clos l’Abbé


Château du Cèdre


Santa Duc


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