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Domaine Chapel

Michele, one of New York’s most respected sommeliers, was visiting Beaujolais to taste with growers. David, the son of 3 Michelin-starred chef Alain Chapel, was working with the iconic natural wine domaine, Lapierre. They met & the rest is history. Together they farm vines in Fleurie, Chiroubles & Beaujolais Villages. They also work with organic growers for their négoce range, to support young farmers in the region and make wines from other Crus, as well as their Aligoté from Mâcon.

"You want to make a more sustainable environment as you live in that environment. When you’re in it, you believe in it: it becomes real and urgent. It affects our land, and we drink and eat what comes from the land."

People:  David Chapel & Michele Smith 

Place:  Beaujolais, France 

Varieties:  Gamay & Aligoté

Hectares:  4

Farming:  Organic with elements of biodynamics

Wines: Click here

Did You Know?  Their vineyards comprise of older vines, which are planted densely in the gobelet style (little bush vines), meaning all work has to be done by hand, with the pioche or with a cable plough (like a horse and plough pulled by a human). 

“In Fleurie, we have two hectares, but the work is probably equivalent to that of eight as it’s so intensive. As it’s surrounded by forest, growth comes from every direction. It’s a really wild, untamed area, and that’s what it wants to be!” 

Large grasses that can take away too much of the water, especially in a hot year, baby acacia trees and wild bramble bushes have to all be removed by hand. It’s a real labour of love, but it’s worth it. Being in a region that has a strong organic community has been hugely helpful: 

“We’ve been fortunate to have received so much advice from other growers. You don’t move here to become rich — it has to be out of love for the region. But at the same time, although working organically is time and labour intensive, you can show other growers in the area that there’s a benefit: it’s better for the land, of course, but financially it also provides more opportunity.”

"If you really believe in what you’re saying, then you also need to put your money where your mouth is. By sharing resources and knowledge, people become more open-minded and willing to try.  Working organically is more than just a romantic notion; it’s...

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