From organic to bio-dynamic viniculture

Our commitment to organic wine-making has been uncompromisingly prioritized ever since the inception of the Domaine des Balisiers, ever since we planted our very first vine.

At first, this made us the laughingstock of Geneva’s winemaking community! Indeed, it must be recalled that in 1980 Switzerland’s vineyards were awash with weed-killer, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. BioSuisse had yet to come into being, and the environmentalist movement was barely born.

Some three decades of organic viniculture later, the soils of our estate were restored to full health and rejuvenated to the point where even organic fertilizer (manure or compost) was hardly needed and the doses of natural copper sulphate we applied to control downy mildew and oidium had been halved. Yet, we could do better still.

Since 2005, the estate has shifted the focus of its organic commitment to the principles of bio-dynamic cultivation, with the use of two major soil-enhancing organic additives. The first, known in the industry as “horn manure 500” or “500-P”, enhances soil structure, microbial activity and the formation of humus. This preparation plays an essential part in promoting the growth of root systems and deeper rooting. The second preparation, so-called “horn silica 501”, improves photosynthesis, thereby strengthening the vines and brightening their foliage. It also corrects for overly luxuriant growth and reduces vulnerability to disease. This additive plays an essential part in the biological structuring of the vines and in their healthy development.

These enhancers are supplemented by seasonal applications of various brews (nettle, willow, mare’s tail, etc.) in order to reduce the doses of copper salts and sulphate we administer and further enhance the health of the vines.