The estate is at an altitude of about 300 metres with a predominantly southern exposure. This elevation brings cooler nights during the summer, and it also benefits from the Mistral winds from the Rhone Valley. The average sunshine is about 2600 hours per year one of the the sunniest place in France. Set in the geological area of the Pays d’Aigues the soil is essentially stoney clay on limestone. The land is well drained with good underground water retention.
With these natural advantages for growing grapes our philosophy is to pursue a farming regime which emphasises sustainable practices, natural products and minimum intervention. The 2010 harvest will be fully certified organic by Ecocert
Our philosophy at Château Saint Estève de Néri is to practice a regime of minimum intervention in the care of our vines. This begins with a hard prune between December and March followed by application of organic fertilizers. There is no use of chemical herbicides or pesticides, and weeds are controlled by mechanical working of the soil. All the other treatments are with products which accord with the organic regime. We de-bud in spring and for the more prodigious parcels we do a vendange vert in July. There is a fine balance between working the soil to control weeds and manage humidity retention and avoiding too many passages with the tractor so that the root system of the vines is not compromised.
The harvest takes place normally during the last two weeks of September and first week of October, depending upon the ripeness and condition of the grapes. Roughly one third is harvested by hand for the top cuves and the rest by machine. The grapes are then sorted and de-stemmed before being pressed or put directly into the tanks for maceration and fermentation.