With Team Paradise Rescued in full action at Cardan Bordeaux creating Bordeaux vintage 2017, we thought it would be a great time to catch up on the news with Founder Director David Stannard on location at winery. And top of our list of questions is that recent Organic certification and of course how the Paradise Rescued harvest has been and the prospects for the wine this year.
Q: Thank you once again for the opportunity to ask you the difficult questions straight up, David.
DS: No problem. A part of being a sustainable company is that we communicate and share openly what we do. Sometimes the questions are tough. We will always answer as best we can and as we see things. Fire away!
Q: The Paradise Rescued vineyards, winery and wine have recently been certified organic. Congratulations! Why is organic so important for Paradise Rescued?
DS: Our Mission for Paradise Rescued is to sustain the rural heritage of our beautiful village here in Cardan. To be sustainable, and working so close to our community, it seemed to us to be the only acceptable approach from both a community and environmental perspective.
The other huge advantage it has given us is that it has forced us to think in much more detail about how we grow our vines and importantly how we focus on the health of the soil. This is turn leads to better fruit and hence the quality of our wine.
Q: You talk there about the quality of your wine. Can you see changes and improvements in the wine since you started operations in Cardan resulting from your organic approach?
DS: Quite emphatically – yes! It was no accident that my first book was entitled “From Cabbage Patch to Cabernet Franc”. It was exactly that, a cabbage patch that had been drenched in different chemical treatments and fertilisers that had literally made the soil almost lifeless. By the immediate change to organic viticulture and a “hands on” detailed vine to vine approach, improved soil management, better pruning, etc a major turnaround has been achieved. The quality of the wine has been improving ever since.
In our Merlot block that we bought in 2011, the old vines had been cut to death and abandoned. Through our gentle organic programme and significant restoration programme, a truly remarkable comeback has been achieved and these vines now show incredible vigour every season.
Q: How challenging was it for Paradise Rescued to achieve Organic certification?
DS: I have previously written in my blog about how I see this achievement as one of our greatest so far as it cements in place our full organic viticultural programme. And once again, I would like to pass on the congratulations to Pascale Bervas, our vigneronne who has lead and done the significant quantity of the work, not only in the vineyard and winery but also in the office! The Organic certification requires us to show that we comply to the requirements of an internationally recognised standard or system. As such we have to put together our own internal management system and then demonstrate compliance to an auditor both during the period of so-called conversion but from now on. This is a huge amount of work with every aspect of our operation scrutinised for compliance starting with seeds in the vineyard through to the materials of construction we use in the winery.
Q: David, we all know how much you love being back here in Cardan. What was the first thing you noticed upon your return 10 days ago?
DS: I am always looking for small (or large) signs of change and improvement in our operation. The health of the vines is obviously key and particularly the fruit prior to harvest. The things that struck me the most this time was how the new Merlot vines have rapidly matured. It has been a long seven years since we last saw a fully live vineyard on the northerly part of the Hourcat Centre block. I am stunned at the health of this new young vineyard. And part of that success reflects the organic approach taken in regenerating and replanting that vineyard. I am very excited about the future for our Merlot production.
Q: And of course, David, the question we are all waiting to hear the answer to! Given all that has happened during this Bordeaux Wine season, how is Paradise Rescued vintage 2017 shaping up now that the harvest is behind you?
DS: There is always a danger in speaking up too early. However I do prefer to tell it how it is, how we see things rather than launch any surprises later. So far what we have seen at the winery door and in the vats is very promising indeed. How much of that is do our improved skills, healthier vineyard or the fortunate (for us) climatic conditions of the season I can not say. What I do know is that when good planning meets opportunity, excellent results occur. The colour and fruit in the wines is very strong. They have lovely aromas and the length on the Cabernet Franc is exquisite. So far so good – more reports to follow!!
Q: Thank you David for the update and continual passion that you bring to all things Paradise Rescued and Bordeaux wine. Cheers and good luck for the further development of vintage 2017.
DS: A pleasure as always. Thank you.
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