- Chablis, Burgundy, France
These wines, produced from grapes that are the fruit of biodynamic farming, were part of the Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard label until 2011 and 2012. Harvested by hand and vinified in a more artisanal manner, they represent the best wines Brocard produces and are well worth seeking out."
—William Kelley, Wine Advocate
It's rare to find anyone in Chablis who farms biodynamically and it immediately drew my attention when the introduction to the Brocard wines crossed my desk. Even today, in 2023, there are only a handful of producers in Chablis practicing biodynamic viticulture. When Julien joined his father as vineyard manager in 1997 at Jean-Marc Brocard, the winery was using everything in the arsenal to combat disease: herbicides, fungicides, pesticides. Julien was determined that there had to be a better way. He had heard about biodynamic farming and became a part of a group of growers in Burgundy (which included Aubert de Villaine, Anne-Claude Leflaive and Dominique Lafon) who shared their trials and tribulations of farming this way. In 1997, he started his exploration with the village level “Boissoneuse” vineyard, which is the heart of the Julien Brocard winery.
Julien Brocard was the first to practice biodynamic farming in Chablis and it was not without its challenges. Growers from neighboring plots feared that biodynamic farming brought disease to their vineyards. Ignoring the naysayers and happy with the results, Julien pressed on and continued to convert more vineyards to biodynamic agriculture. In 2012, feeling that the sites were showing their fullest potential, he launched his own label, Julien Brocard - les 7 Lieux. “7 Lieux” translates to seven sites and he started with seven wines that year.
Today, Julien is working with 18 hectares total, the heart of which is 11 hectares in the Boissoneuse vineyard in Préhy. Biodynamic farming requires constant human observation and attention, and the use of ancestral methods and tools, such as horse-drawn plowing which creates a natural link between people, the soil and the plants. Since planting fruit trees in the vineyard he has witnessed a resurgence of wildlife and microbial life in the soil. He’s working on the reforestation of his vineyards as well to help balance the water in the soil.