Domaine aux Moines

Anjou, Loire Valley, France

Founded in 1981 by Madame Monique Laroche, the Estate is situated at the top of the hillside, alongside the Loire river, which makes it the highest location in the Savennières sub-appellation of "Roche Aux Moines". Now run by Monique’s daughter Tessa, the domaine comprises of 12 hectares of vineyards, where each site benefits from a particular micro-climate and ideal exposure. 
Since the beginning, both mother and daughter have always taken a natural approach in their vineyard and cellar practices. Through their diligent work, the domaine started working fully organically in 2006, obtaining the certification in 2011 and then moving towards biodynamic practices.
Yields are kept extremely low, all work is done by hand including the harvest which occurs slowly over a few weeks. In the cellar, the wines are all fermented with indigenous yeasts, and aged in a combination of tanks and mostly-used casks. 
Domaine aux MoinesDomaine aux Moines

Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wine. What’s the difference?

To understand this concept and its various ramifications, it is necessary to keep something clear in mind: before the 20th century and the spreading of affordable synthetic fertilisers, all farming was organic. When the shift to the use of synthetics and pesticides happened, it became necessary to diversify traditional organic farming from the new modern farming. 


Simply put, organic farming forbids the use of synthetic fertilisers, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. The basic requirements are generally specific and engage the farmers not to use any chemical fertilisers and other synthetic products in the vineyard. It does not prevent the vintner from using the conventional winemaking process after harvesting. 


Let’s take organic farming one step further: Biodynamic. The creator of this agricultural system is the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who developed the principles of biodynamics in a series of lectures given in 1924 in Germany. Here lies the foundation of true organic wines, with a strict limit in the use of additives, stringent requirements and at the end obtaining a biodynamic certification.


The previous definitions are usually, and rightfully, associated with it, because most natural wine is also organic and/or biodynamic. But not vice versa!

Natural wine is wine in its purest form, simply described as nothing added, nothing taken away, just grapes fermented. No manipulation whatsoever, minimal intervention both in the vineyards and in the winery. Healthy grapes, natural yeast and natural fermentation, with no filtration nor fining. Sounds easy, right? However, making natural wine is unforgiving and it requires a bigger amount of work than conventional wine. To this day, natural wine has no certification yet.