The Poissinet vineyard is a family farm, where the know-how is passed down through the generations and the passion for the vineyard and winemaking is shared.
The family has been cultivating vines since the 17th century, but it was in 1974 that the vineyard was officially created and the first bottles bearing the name “Champagne Poissinet” were produced and then put on sale. It then followed a conventional working method until I took over. In 2008, I took the reins and decided to change everything so that the work, from vine to sale, is responsible, sustainable and committed.
The vineyard is located within a perimeter of 12km around the farm, which is in Cuchery, in the Marne region of Champagne. The farm has a size of 7 hectares which is divided into 35 plots, mainly composed of Meunier, supplemented by Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Champagne is a region of viticulture and agriculture. Around the Poissinet farm vineyard there are other vines, agricultural fields and large meadows for small herds of cattle. The landscape is hilly with large forest areas where game thrives.
My son, Maxime, is the 6th generation on the farm. He works at the very root of the profession: in the vineyard. I work in the vineyard, the winery, the cellar and the office. The entire team consists of three women and three men. Since 2011, I have been working to prepare the soil and the vineyard for organic viticulture and biodynamics, and towards production that is more respectful of the environment and less dependent on humans. I actually trained in the use of plants for soils and vines, in biodynamics, and today I still wish to continue training in biodynamics and lithotherapy.
Lithotherapy involves using stones or crystals which each have their own specific energetic resonance. These crystals have a particular and singular property: whatever is around them or in contact with them can benefit from them. There are over ten of these stones in the offices for people’s well-being, but also among the vines for the plots. Finally, crystals have been placed in specific locations within the winery so that the wines can benefit from their properties.
The tailor-made supervision of each plot is one of the most important elements of the work on the vineyard. Each plot becomes independent, supervised according to the vine’s needs. The staff working in the vineyard provide careful support for each row of vines, in order to determine their needs. These can be dictated by the size of the wood, the size of the bunches during harvest, the maturity, or the early cold in certain plots, because their climates and terroirs are different as well as their exposure. Decoctions, compost, silica or horn manure are applied appropriately and according to the needs and vigour of the vine. For example, a change is made when the vine needs to be hardier.
Once the vineyard soils were ready for conversion, the process began with Ecocert (organic certification) and Demeter (biodynamic certification) in 2017. The vineyard was certified organic and biodynamic in 2020. The 2020 harvest is therefore certified. This means that we do not use pesticides, weedkillers or any synthetic products. I provide help for each vine and for my wines.
For the Champagne AOC appellation, irrigation is prohibited. All the plots on the farm are grassed, the earth is turned mechanically and the grass in the vineyard is crushed and remains on the ground. Regarding the biodiversity of species, we ensure their presence by working the soils and activating them naturally with silica, horn manure, herbal teas, and by preparing our own compost. We also promote sustainability and the living world by respecting plant growth cycles, while not being invasive for the species. We follow the plant’s evolution in relation to the weather and the planets (in particular by following the lunar calendar), in order to promote their natural development.
More than just a method of viticulture, it is a philosophy. As the farm is converted and cared for, the vines are in better health: the twigs have gained in vigour, the roots are digging deeper to feed, there is a greater presence of flora and fauna, the vines are learning to defend themselves against disease, and grapes are being produced in much smaller quantities but have far greater quality and aroma.
We carry out vinification according to the Champagne method which consists of 2 fermentations: first with natural settling (by gravitation) and quickly in order to leave life in the wine. The wines are subsequently placed in barrels and vats, and the first fermentation (alcoholic) starts spontaneously and naturally thanks to the indigenous yeasts. Indigenous yeasts are yeasts naturally present in wines and in the natural environment of the cellar. Alcoholic fermentation can last between 1 to 10 months at the farm. Malolactic fermentation can subsequently begin spontaneously (though sometimes it does not happen), often in September or in spring.
The second fermentation is essential for the champagne and is called the prise de mousse. It forms bubbles in the bottle, which creates pressure. The bottle remains closed for 2 to 3 years in the case of the Terre d’Irizée cuvée, ageing on slats. After this period, we carry out disgorgement to remove the sediment remaining in the bottle, to add a liqueur d’expédition. In our case, it is minimal (1.7g) in order to produce an Extra Brut Champagne. We seek balance between sugars and acids, while preserving the aromas. The bottle is then closed with a cork and a muselet.
The remains of the unused grapes are sent to a distillery which is responsible for producing alcohol (hydroalcoholic gel, alcohol for research laboratories).