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July 16, 2009



Thank you for this so interesting report. I am very exited by this... We suffer a lot of the esca and I am going to visit Didier.
Thank you again.


Hm, I'm not quite convinced by the theory, as even in my naturally cultivated "young" vineyard (20 years now), where the soil had never seen herbicides and pesticides and analyzed by Claude Bourguignon as provided with an excellent microbiological life, I've noticed "apoplexy" here and there during the last years - and as the whole plot is run with a natural herbs cover (with most of the varieties you cited plus others - even wild leeks and garlics and only cut once a year, like in your example), there must be some other factors - but it would be interesting, to know some further research...

Jim Budd

Another excellent and fascinating post Bertrand. I have talked to Didier and like you think that this may well be a way forward to combat Esca – incidentally also less prevalent in Menu Pineau, although the plantings of Menu are small compared to Sauvignon Blanc. Typical that the INRA consider Didier to be a lunatic.

Also worth noting that Didier doesn't disturb the soil's profile but turning over the soil. Claude Papin in Anjou is very much opposed to the cultivation of the soil and I have discussed with Aynard and his wife Isabelle that Claude Bourguignon has similar concerns about the need to maintain a soil's delicate profile.

Kevin McK


I can't thank you enough for researching and writing this great post. I have been wanting to write about this for a year, but have been buried with other work. Whats more, your post is probably better written than I could hope mine to be. I will link this page from our front page.

Having worked with Didier for some 15 years now, there is no doubt that he is a natural genius for this sort of historical research and application of theory. I am thrilled that the positive results are evident.


M. Messenie

Great report! I think people who found this fascinating would appreciate the work of mycologist Paul Stamets.


Very interesting stuff there. With the internet it is nice to be able to share info about what is happening in the industry across borders and languages.

I appreciate the information.


Very very interesting... I'm working on this ESCA issue as agronomist engineer in a famous nursery and I try to be aware since the last 6 months about all which talk about vines trunk desease.

This experimental conclusions are very interesting because we try to show that it's soil which is important. Why INRA fellow didn't want to know nothing about this work, it's only because this hypothesis is too far for them to the problematic (trunk, wood disease). They are very narrow-minded as we all know but it doesn't matter.

What I could understand by this post, it's the real fact that we all have to understand that the plant need to equilibrate herself to be able to struggle against all attack. When we started to used chemical products a couple of decades ago, it was in a nice intention to protect our crops and preserved our yield to give food for everybody, but we have forgotten the most important concept in nature. Keep natural balance. Keep you environment well balanced if you want a crop well balanced. mycorhized root are one of the best symbol. It's the perfect argument for me to convince all people to switch to biological or at least less chemical thinking. The fungi cycle in the soil an all the interactions... that is the key. The indirect reason to the ESCA resistance. Mycorhize and well balanced soil help the plant to be more thick, more strong, more prepared to any stress. I'm sure we could verified that this sauvignon and Gamay vineyard are much more resistant to every other pathogen that the other viticulturist have to manage as well.

After, I'm impress about the discovery of the specific effect of wild leek or garlic plant to control ESCA... I really should meet this viticulturist. This true vigneron.

Mart van Weert

Thanks Bertrand. As always great story. I like to read these more technical posts they give a nice insight in the thinking of some vignerons. Clos Roche Blanche is a favorite of mine. Unfortunately not available here in Italy.
Are you by the way planning to do a post on italian natural wines? There are some interesting things going on here but the scene is no as alive as in France.


Hi Mart,
No I haven't immediate plans to go to Italy, but I know there is also a vibrant scene of artisan vignerons making beautiful additives-free wines. I tasted a few of them and would like to visit one day.

Fabien Laine

Vey nice article and very instructive ! Thanks a lot for sharing !

Also is there any email address to contact Didier ? Cannot find any website for their domain !

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