This post was kindly written by Suzanne, a friend and neighbour in Saint-Chinian. She’s a member of an association called WIC, short for Women’s International Club. The association is very active and brings people of all nationalities together. A big THANK YOU to Suzanne for sharing this visit!!
This year, WIC (Women’s International Club) chose to visit a rather special vineyard to celebrate Women. The vineyard is special in that it is run solely by a woman – Lidewij – at Terre des Dames, just outside Murviel-les-Béziers – a beautifully situated spot.
The tour was interesting: after explaining the ups and downs of her adventures in launching herself in this new life, Lidewij took us for a walk amongst the fields of vines, showing us how bio-culture can regulate itself.
The lay-out of the vineyards in the Languedoc region is quite particular in that we have small fields of vines surrounded by hedges and trees, in contrast to other regions such as Bordeaux where the fields are immense. These trees and bushes create nesting places for all sorts of fauna, which have various effects on the fields: the birds eat some of the harmful insects. The quality of the soil is checked, amongst others, by counting the amount of a certain kind of spider per square meter. Due to the presence of the hedges, the spiders accumulate there and then are spread out over the fields by the wind.
The almond trees were coming to the end of their flowering season, but still carried some of last year’s fruit:
Lidewij pointed out the various species of grape that she grows. Unfortunately at this time of year, we couldn’t really appreciate this, what with all the plants being bare and waiting for their spring foliage.
Lidewij also explained how she tried to balance out yield and quality – a complicated equation, as it is almost impossible to obtain both at the same time. A certain type of pruning will increase the yield, whereas another way of pruning will improve quality.
The tour ended with a visit of the storage area and a tasting of a few very interesting wines, red and white.
If you fancy a very enjoyable afternoon, you can contact Lidewij Van Wilgen on firstname.lastname@example.org. She speaks extremely good English and French, as well as Dutch.
Here is some more information about Lidewij’s wines: