Eric stems from a line of viticulturalists, and in 2000, he inherited his father’s 24ha wine estate in the Hérault Department. Together with his grandfather, Eric’s father had accumulated tracts of land after immigrating to France from Algeria. Both men were already practicing sustainable farming methods whilst still in their former home and took these techniques along with them when they moved to Europe. Eric continues to prescribe to this family tradition. Combined with his dedication to technological advancement in agriculture, Eric has developed his own cultivation method, which he dubs “naturo-culture”.
With the help of Michel Barbaud, a French scientist and healer who also works in Italy, Eric has laid the foundations for “naturo-culture”, which essentially stands for natural means of cultivation in all phases of plant production. Goals of this method, in Eric’s case, include repairing and strengthening grapevines using herbs and essential oils that specifically help in stabilizing their equilibrium – in other words, “healing” them.
The process begins with an analysis of the ground on which the plants are grown to discern its fertility. The goal here is to recognize any mineral deficiencies that could lead to sickness and infection. “Naturo-culture”, therefore, requires knowledge of different measuring tools, particularly those used in the bioelectronic methods of Professor Vincent (BEV). Deficiencies of the terrain can be identified by testing its pH levels, redox systems (rH2) and resistant properties, so that solutions can consequently be implemented to counteract them. Eric discourages working deeper levels of the soil as this can ruin or further damage its microbiological equilibrium and condition.
To see “naturo-culture” at work, Eric managed to triple, possibly even quintuple the fertility of his terrain over a time period of 8 years by adding plant composts to the soil. These helped raise its alkaline levels, and the microbiological activities of champignons increased its water content. These properties of the soil help build up his crops’ resistance levels against diseases.
As a result of these agricultural innovations, the microorganic activity in the soil that Eric tries to support, such as the sowing of vegetable and nectar plant seeds, has, in turn, increased the number of bird and bee species that visit his vineyard.
Eric’s practices are slowly but surely spawning a growing number of followers. Indeed, more and more enthusiastic farmers and viticulturalists, even individuals outside the agricultural sector, seek education in his methods. Equally enthusiastic to share his knowledge with them, Eric is planning to turn his estate into a training centre for “naturo-culture”, so he can prove that such cultivation is not only environment-friendly, but also economically beneficial. “Naturo-culture” can help reduce the costs of commercial farming. Eric currently trains farmers, between ten to 15 a year.
National research institutions are also interested in this innovation. He receives interns from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, visit his vineyards to observe birds. Approximately 40 different species have been sighted on his property. A study of the different insect types is also planned. Like “naturo-culture” itself, the ecosystem it shapes is also of great interest to the national science community.
Eric has been thinking about creating his own label to boost recognition of the quality of his products, rather than simply using an organic label. Indeed, one can safely say that his agricultural approach has a therapeutic effect on crops. Personally, “naturo-culture” has given his wines many important minerals.
Eric’s own motto best sums up his philosophy: “study the land before working it.”
Are you yourself interested in spending some time at Eric’s organic wine estate? Or would you like to see his sheepfolds turned holiday apartments? Clémentine and Eric Mari invite you to stay at their country home with swimming pool!