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t is essential to plough the vineyards and not to weed them chemically in order to let the terroirs express their characteristics. This method protects the microbiological life of the soil essential in providing harmony to the different elements that constitute the soil.

In 2002 the Domaine decided to use a horse for ploughing and hired a company that provided this service. After three years it became necessary to find a better solution, and the Domaine purchased a horse in order to continue ‘in house’ instead of outsourcing.2005 was a time of transition between the tractor and the horse. Certain modifications needed to be done, notably removing large blocks of stone on the surface of certain rows of vines, not at all a problem for a tractor but definite obstacles for a plough drawn by a horse.
The decision to use a horse has no relationship whatsoever with publicity. If this were the case, the Domaine would not have invested in the purchase of a horse, but simply ‘rented’ a horse for its most prestigious and visible vineyards.

The principal interest of using a horse is to limit compacting the soil. Whatever the critics of using a horse say, a horse compacts the soil far less than a tractor. Effectively, the step of a horse is random and never occurs in exactly the same place. Perhaps the compression is heavy under the weight of the horse’s shoe but it always occurs in a different place. In the case of a tractor, the pressure and weight are homogenous on the entire length and width of a row. The soil tilled by the tractor’s front wheels, is immediately pressed down by the tractor’s back wheel. One could consider that it is possible to weed mechanically using a tractor but never to plough.

Finally, it is noticeable that compacting is more evident in predominantly clay-ey rather than limestone soils. Clay soils are found principally at the base of the Côte d’Or slopes and in the plain of the Saône in village appellations. Therefore it appears to be important to plough in the village appellations rather than in the grands and premiers crus…
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair
Château de Vosne-Romanée
21700 Vosne-Romanée
Tel: +33(0) 380 62 13 70 - Fax: +33(0) 371 70 00 50
Email : contact@liger-belair.fr