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June 2015

BBR and VINIV join forces in support of literacy for underprivileged children

The famous London wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd (BBR), also considered Britain’s oldest wine and spirits merchant and partner of VINIV since 2014, has launched a unique initiative to raise funds for the  Room to Read charity, which works to improve literacy among children in developing countries.

In collaboration with VINIV, BBR has created Widely Read, a wine blended on 31 March 2015 by Stephen Bolger (VINIV), Eric Boissenot (recently named “the most influential wine consultant in the world of wine” by The Drinks Business), Jancis Robinson (journalist from the Financial Times, see the "Blend ambition" article) and Simon Staples (BBR). BBR immediately bought 10 barrels, the equivalent of 2,880 bottles.

The next day, some 570 bottles of Widely Read were sold at a charity dinner in Tokyo, Japan. A promising first step paving the way for new sales at auctions organised in several cities, including Paris (France) and London (United Kingdom).

VINIV has also decided to offer a barrel of the 2014 vintage to Room to Read Japan in support of this inspirational project.

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July 2015

Geolocated fertilization, a precision viticulture technique

Having georeferenced the entire property to establish a detailed map, Lynch-Bages has now introduced a geolocated fertilization technique throughout the estate. As technical director for Château Lynch-Bages, Nicolas Labenne explains what this state-of-the-art innovation actually involves.

Fertilisation géolocalisée

Château Lynch-Bages is innovating again this year with its geolocated fertilization methods. What does this involve exactly?

Nicolas Labenne: "Our detailed knowledge of the vineyard combined with today's technological innovations allow us to use precision viticulture techniques. We can now adapt our spreading of organic and mineral fertilizers throughout the vineyard, even dividing areas less than 5 metres in length. This offers two advantages, not only can we reduce our use of fertilizer by 15 to 20% but also, above all, we can distribute products more effectively according to the needs of individual areas."

Why was this not possible before?

NL: "It required a lot of hard work. We began working on the idea in 2009 by conducting studies of soil resistivity and potential. We needed to measure the vineyard’s intra-parcel heterogeneity. This mapping, combined with plant-specific analyses, took us a long time but we have now distinguished five main soil types on the estate holding different qualitative potential. In 2009, we were already able to use this information to divide the land up into about 30 sub-areas to begin selective harvesting. Today, we are using our partners’ technological breakthroughs to take the process a step further and begin precision viticulture, using for example geolocated fertilization techniques."

What are the advantages for the vineyard, and ultimately for the wine?

NL : "This is where things become interesting. The quality of a wine depends on a multitude of important details. The techniques already used are beginning to yield results, for example better plant homogeneity and a must with more stable acidity levels and better sugar concentration. There is also an environmental impact, because this more judicious and precise form of viticulture is best for monitoring and sustainable development. This means the château will make input savings and we will soon be reducing our phytosanitary treatments too. We can also manage vineyard renewal and its long-term homogeneity more effectively."

Precision viticulture at Lynch-Bages: the key facts

Step 1: observation
In 2009, we georeferenced Lynch-Bages in detail (rows, orientation, length, actual planted surface, etc.), using satellites, drones and GPS to obtain more information about the vineyard.

Step 2: characterization
The data showed the vineyard to be very variable, and so we divided the land up into new intra-parcel zones.

Step 3: recommendation
We then completely revised and optimized the estate's viticulture strategy (thinning, fertilization, renewal, etc.).

Step 4: implementation
We carried out the first geolocated fertilization tests in 2012. The tractor's GPS contains the information on the georeferenced map, meaning input can be controlled by either varying the spreader's flow (mineral fertilizer) or varying the speed at which the tractor moves forward (natural plant compost). The entire production cycle (thinning, renewal, selective harvesting, etc.) has benefited from these innovations.

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June 2014

Drones at Château Lynch-Bages: technology for the vineyard

In June 2014, Château Lynch-Bages began carrying out a survey with the Telespazio company, a branch of the Thalès group, using aerial detection. Objective: to achieve an ever more fine-tuned vineyard management.

Based on cartography created through images taken from the sky by drones and microlights, the aim of this survey is to acquire more in-depth knowledge of the vineyard, and to adapt vineyard practices (notably geo-localised fertilisation and canopy management) as well as selective harvests.

Nicolas Labenne, technical director of Château Lynch-Bages says:

« The concept proposed by Telespazio, EarthLab & Millésime, enables us to obtain an extremely precise analysis of the crops in the vineyard. This technology should allow us an even deeper understanding of our 50 types of soil. For us, it’s also a matter of carrying out a general assessment in a bid to optimise our renewal policy. »