Cultivating the celestial


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This Southern Rhone vineyard has a unique approach to wine making Alain and Philippe Viret – father and son – have developed a system they call cosmoculture. Beyond being organic and even biodynamic, the cosmoculture is amazing: the vineyard is studded with menhirs and “planetary beacons” in order to connect with celestial and earthly energies. It embraces Maya and Inca agricultural and spiritual concepts.? ?Alain and Philippe Viret have called their winery “La Cathedrale du Vin” The massive granite blocks used for construction are sized according to the Royal Cubit (~524 mm) and the shape of the cathedral conforms to the Golden Section.? It has 13 symbolic columns, a water source at its heart, and uses 1,000 huge blocks of the same limestone used by the Romans to build the Pont du Gard, without mortar. It is built with the golden mean. With these fountains, crystals, amphorae and much more, it is one of the world’s weirdest wineries. The Viret’s Domaine eschews the use of chemicals in its wines, and believes the vines benefit from the patches of olives, apricots, quince and scrubland dotted around its 30 hectares. “Herbs such as lavender are natural antiseptics, so respecting our environment benefits the land’s microbiology,” says Philippe Viret. “Preventative rather than corrective winemaking; keeping the soils, vines and wines into a healthy state,” is how the younger Viret characterises his approach. Alain and Philippe Viret are part of the vignerons rebelles movement in France, a loose grouping of producers dissatisfied with what they see as the stagnation and complacency of French viticulture.

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