Two types of soils coexist in Fontenille. The first one is made of soils protected from old alluvial deposits, made up of clayey gravel on limestone.These warm, poor soils facing South and West are particularly suitable for red vines. The second one, made up of often gravelly loams called ‘boulbène’, are colder soils, very suitable for the production of fruity wines like the whites and rosés, thanks to a slow ripening end.
A notable feature of the Fontenille terroir is that it is located on the edge of the watershed between the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers. This unique situation at 105 meters altitude allows us to have good air circulation and therefore low pressure of fungal diseases.
67 plots, each one unique. The vineyard covers 56 ha including 20 ha of white vines and 36 ha of red vines.
The wine of Fontenille is a “return to the future” of a most natural wine because as Stéphane says “it would be futile to want to recreate in the cellar what the vine couldn’t expressed’’ and « wine comes from what nature offers us”. Environmental commitment is not an empty word or a marketing effect in Fontenille. In this area too, Stéphane is taking action. This is reflected in energy consumption and the preservation of water resources, cultivation methods and protection of the vine, sorting and recycling of waste, inputs, health protection for employees, residents and consumer, the integration of good practices, a quality approach, the implementation of participatory management. This means that we can be both visionary and modern, and practice state-of-the-art winemaking while giving back meaning to our wines.
Since 2017 we have been certified HEV3 (High Environmental Value) The farm environmental certification is a voluntary approach which aims to identify and promote particularly environmentally-friendly practices applied by farmers. HEV covers four key areas: biodiversity conservation, plant protection strategy, management of fertiliser use and management of water. In order to engage the whole agricultural sector in an approach focused on environmental progress, it is designed on the basis of certification of the whole farm at three levels. The third or “high environmental value” level is based on performance indicators. Farm certification, which enables farmers to label their products with a value statement “from farms certified as having high environmental value”, guarantees a farm’s high level of environmental performance.
Since 2020, we have been in organic conversion. It is the logical continuation of our ecological philosophy. Our eco-responsible approach will be certified by the organic label from the 2022 vintage.
Plantations : Our quest for quality starts at this very moment of plantation. When planting, we choose a varietal, a clone and a rootstock according to the history, soil type, orientation and analyses. This reflection is essential to have the best expression of the possible terroir that characterizes us. A plantation commits us for minimum 30 years, maybe for more than 50 years according to the selected grape varieties. It is therefore an important intergenerational choice.
The density of plantation (the number of vines per hectare) plays an important role in the quality of the grapes obtained: At equal production, a higher density will bring vigor and individual production of the weaker strains, a better feeding of the grapes, earlier maturity, higher concentration of anthocyanins and polyphenols in general.
The orientation of the rows : The majority of our vineyards are planted North / South to take advantage of the sunshine and capture the light, while taking into account the topography of the land.
Working the soil : Since 2005, we have made every effort to work without the use of chemicals for the cultivation of our vines. So, we have invested in the necessary tools, but also in the training of our tractor drivers. The soil is a biological activity support that provides the vine with the water and mineral elements necessary for its development. It contributes, to a large extent, to the qualitative expression of our wines. Soil maintenance is necessary, especially to eliminate weeds.