Jill BarthTasteWines and Spirits of Provence

Learn About Biodynamic Wine in the Southern Rhône

Biodynamic Wine

I take notes like a squirrel on the bird feeder—fast and full, getting it all down before someone changes the subject. You’ll know me by my notebooks.

More often than not, however, the stuff that really sticks with me doesn’t require a scribble. My memory serves in certain moments where everything just makes sense—when it links up with something in my genetic code and delivers clarity.

This happened last year when I met the Saurel family at their fifth-generation domaine, Montirius in Sarrians, which is located near Gigondas in Provence, France. The name Montirius contains part of the surname of each of Christine and Eric Saurel’s children: MON (Manon) – TI (Justine) – RIUS (Marius). Continue reading here for the contributor blog post by L’Occasion where Jill learns more about the art and science of biodynamic wine production in France.

The principal of biodynamic winemaking starts with the philosophy of taking care of the soil. With that in mind, there are no chemicals used on weeds, on the vines, or on the grapes. The Montirius vineyard is certified by BIODYVIN. This group of almost 150 winemakers in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland all follow established eco-friendly protocols.

More simply: nothing added, nothing taken out, nothing changed.”

According to the Montirius website, their growing methodology is summarized as follows:

  1. Betterment of the soil and the plant with organic and mineral mixes
  2. Spreading of these mixes at precise moments of the year, according to lunar and planetary calendars
  3. Ploughing and weeding the soil.

Southern Rhône Winemakers

Located in the heart of the Southern Rhône Valley, the Montirius vineyard is in great winemaking country. This 58-hectare vineyard produces wines with AOC Gigondas, AOC Vacqueyras, and AOC Côtes du Rhônes designations.

The Saurel family has been making wine for five (5) generations, since 1947. However, it was only in the 1980s that Max Saurel (Eric’s father) stopped using chemical fertilizers. The vineyard has followed fully biodynamic principles since 1999.

Montirius (website)
Winemakers: Christine et Eric SAUREL
1536 Route de Sainte-Edwige
84260 Sarrians
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 65 38 28

Please book in advance for wine tasting.

Closed on Sundays and public holidays.


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Jill Barth

Jill is a writer whose characters make wine, love wine, and live wine. Research for her forthcoming novel–the story of a Provençal winemaking family during the Second World War–has afforded her glorious pleasures: meetings with ambitious French vignerons, travel up and down France in bouncy Renaults, overnights in shuttered châteaux, and many hours as a student of wine with a glass to her lips. In this role, she not only enjoys her own relationship with wine but she also indulges in the life of the French winemaking family that inhabits the pages of her novel.

Jill writes about wine, travel and occasionally yoga (she’s a certified yoga instructor). Her fiction has been featured on NPR and has been published in several literary journals.

Her writings can also be found on her blog L’Occasion.

Follow along with Jill on twitter and instagram.

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