Great wine is made in the vineyard. At least 50% of the work of making wine takes place before harvest.
We founded Domaine Treloar with 10ha (25 acres) of mature vines on 3 excellent sites around the village of Trouillas. We only grow traditional grape varietes of the region and none of the vineyards are irrigated. I believe great wines, anywhere in the world, come from dry vineyards.
In 2008 we bought a further 2ha of old vines that. These included the oldest Syrah in Trouillas and some interesting white varieites - Grenache gris and Carignan blanc.
Our vineyards comprise the following:
A rare limestone hill between Trouillas and Ponteilla where the battle of Trouillas was fought during the French Revolutionary War (the French lost to the Spanish). The vines cover the south and west slopes.
- Muscat d'Alexandrie
- 0.70 ha on red clay / limestone
- Muscat a Petits Grains
- 0.70 ha on red clay
- 2.2 ha on typical Aspres stony clay
- Lledoner Pelut (a rare local relative of Grenache noir)
- 0.45 ha on steep limestone slopes
- Grenache noir
- 1.2 ha on a south-facing limestone slope
- Mourvedre (also known as Mataro and Monastrell)
- 1.4 ha on a clay / limestone slope facing the sea
A stony terrace between Trouillas and Terrats. Foun Rouge means "red spring" in Catalan.
- Grenache noir
- 0.4 ha of old vines on trellis
- Grenache Gris
- 0.25 ha of old bush vines
- Carignan noir and Carignan blanc
- 0.25 ha of old bush vines planted in the 1950s
- 0.9ha of young vines grown on New-Zealand style trellis on very stony soils
MilleredeA secluded vineyard of red soils between Trouillas and Fourques. It translates as "A Thousand Reeds"
- 0.25ha of the oldest Syrah in the commune
- Muscat a petits grains
- 0.25ha of old vines grown on trellis
La SerreA high windswept hilltop with fantastic 360° views of the sea and the mountains, which sits beside the old Knights Templar watchtower of Mas Deu.
- Muscat a petits grains
- 1.0ha which I send to the Trouillas Cooperative
- 0.2 ha of very old, low-yielding vines
I manage the vines under the Sustainable Viticulture Program (or Lutte Raisonnée). This is environmental farming that avoids the use of chemical fertilizers and minimises the amount of spraying by disease monitoring and avoidance of broad-spectrum chemicals.
Our soils are poor and stony, which restricts weed growth but is liable to erosion. Therefore I only plough once or twice a year to keep the topsoil alive. I mow the grasses and weeds between the rows and these, along with the prunings, are dug back into the soil to act as long-term fertilizer, aided by animal manure from local farms.
In winter, we perform balanced pruning to match the capacity of each vine to its potential. Once the vines begin to grow in spring, we remove all the unwanted shoots by hand. This keeps the leaf canopy open and less likely to harbour fungal diseases.
The Roussillon has a great climate for viticulture as most of the rain falls in the winter and in summer there is always the Tremontane wind to dry out the vines after a downpour. Therefore the need for fungicide spraying is much lower than in other regions. I use modern, highly directional spraying equipment and only spray when there is no wind. I also rotate my products to avoid building up resistance.
At harvest we pick the vast majority of our parcels by hand, sorting the bunches in the vineyard and collecting grapes in small 15Kg cases. When we do pick by machine, we spend a day or two beforehand taking off every bunch that is unripe or damaged by disease or insects. Then we pick from 5:00 until 9:30, before the grapes have chance to warm up, using new-generation machines which are gentle on the vines.
Our furthest vineyard is 5 minutes drive from the winery.
We get many enquiries each year from people wanting to come and pick for us.
We only employ experienced pickers with their own accomodation, transport and permission to work in France.
We have very limited accomodation which is reserved for winemaking students undertaking an internship. We cannot provide space or amenities for camping.
If you would like to experience the harvest, we would be happy to welcome you to join in and enjoy lunch with us for a nominal fee of 5€, refundable against wine purchases.