Domaine Combier in Crozes-Hermitage – owner of the Clos des Grives – has just celebrated 46 years of being organic, making the estate one of the pioneers of organic agriculture in France. Almost half a century later, history has proved Maurice Combier right. He passed away at the beginning of this year, leaving his son Laurent a priceless legacy: land that is healthy, rich and full of life thanks to his determination to protect the natural environment despite all opposition. Half a century of knowledge and experience for the world of viticulture that has enabled Domaine Combier to launch new organic initiatives for the next 50 years.
It was in 1970 that Maurice Combier decided to switch to organic farming in order to preserve the life of the soil and get the best out of his terroir whilst respecting nature. He described himself as a peasant wine-grower and indeed, at the time, Domaine Combier had fruit trees as well as vines. Above and beyond any economic interest, Maurice Combier saw in it an ecological interest, and the estate is now one of the few in France to have maintained its polycultural activity.
Laurent Combier comments: “Like all pioneers, my father had to be stubborn to stay his course and swim against the current. He had heard about the necessity to preserve the life of the soils and that had a positive impact on him. For him, being a peasant wine-grower meant, first and foremost, immersing himself in his terroir, preserving it, maintaining its fertility and its organic activity to get the best from it. We must now continue this work, whether it be in our vineyard or with our peach and apricot trees.”
With the arrival of the new generation in the form of Julien and David Combier the estate is preparing for the future with the acquisition of new parcels of vines and the expansion of its cellar, scheduled for 2017. The future at Domaine Combier will also see a hedge planting programme and the creation of zones of biodiversity around the new parcels. At a time of very real environmental awareness, when consumers are calling out for healthy, organic products that are good for them and for the environment, Domaine Combier is looking at new initiatives that go even further in the preservation of its ecosystem, and also in the education of tastes and flavours and the nuances of the terroir. Refining taste for a healthier body and a healthier world. A major role that is shared by winegrowers and farmers in general: to better inform, explain, drive home the message and help people consume better. That is the task Domaine Combier has set itself for the coming decades.