Our vineyard is in the foothills of the Cévennes mountains at an altitude of about 500m and with a sandy alkaline soil we produce a fine and elegant fragrant wine.
We are the last remaining vineyard in Le Viagn, which was established in the seventies around the time the house and the estate were formed. When we took over the estate in 2000 the vineyard had been abandoned for 5 years or so and was almost lost (as with all the vineyards in the area).
The first two years were spent bringing the vines back up to working order and in those first two years we lost a lot of vines to disease, (mostly ESCA) but that meant we were left with the hardiest stock.
In 2003 we started making wine at the cave cooperative nearest to us, over 1½ hours away in the Pic St Loup region.
The springs, summers, autumns and winters went by and our knowledge of how the vines grew in our micro-climate got better and better and we learnt all of the techniques needed to produce a good quality grape. During this time we removed what was left of the merlot and started to re-plant the varieties that were left, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cinsault. At the moment we have 3 hectares of vines spread over 5 vineyards.
From the very start pesticides were not used as we believe in the balance of nature but we did feel that it was necessary to use systemic treatments for the vines to ensure a fast and effective attack on all the diseases that were now well and truly established over all the vineyards, but with the idea that we would move to working organically as soon as possible.
In 2006 we decided that all the serious diseases were under control and we could start working organically, in early 2008 we registered the vineyard with the organisation AB, the European organic standard, so this year with our first harvest fermented in our own winery and where we will be able to mark organic on our bottle. This was ok but we still felt that we could work with a more natural format which is where biodynamics comes in. The basis for biodynamics is that if the soil is healthy the plants grown are healthy and can resist disease, seems logical really. It is achieved by special compost preparations made with flowers and sprays made with cow manure and quartz. We hope to embark on this this year and will keep these pages updated on our progress.
Domaine de Terre de Bardet was created out of a larger estate of established vineyards, the remainder of which had been sold off into small parcels of land and the vineyards destroyed. The principal house was commissioned by Madame Francine Gomez, the heiress of the Waterman pen empire in France, and was designed and built by the architectural firm Ligouzat of Nimes in 1975. The house is constructed of concrete poured on site into specially constructed mouldings creating a unique sculptured building that is both spacious and light. The photos on this page were taken in 1976, just after the house was completed.
During Madame Gomez’ foray into French politics the president of France, Giscard D’Estaing, came and stayed in the guesthouse.
After Madame Gomez left, the house and grounds fell into disrepair. We bought the estate in 2000 and set about renovating the buildings and reinstating the grounds and in particular, the vineyards, to their pristine condition.
In 2006 we took the decision that a winery would be the next logical step for the advancement of the domaine and would allow us to complement the organic work that we were doing in the vineyard. Creating a winery is no small task and made all the more difficult by the fact that we would have to construct a building as there was no existing one of sufficient size.
As with all things (but especially in France) it takes a long time to get all the right stamps and signatures on the right forms before any work can start, so in 2008 work commenced with clearing the area for the footings. The structure was finished in late summer 2008 and it consisted of a ground floor with two rooms that would be the winery and a work shop and a 1st floor which would be used as a bottling room and for storage.
The winery was completed in time for the 2009 harvest and has been in use ever since.