Silvija Umaraite, Lithuania, asks: Which was the first biodynamic Champagne house?
I always thought it was Fleury, but other people seem to say it’s Leclerc-Briant. Can you settle it for us?
Peter Liem, Regional Chair for Champagne at DWWA, replies: As far as I know, the first producer in Champagne to explore biodynamics was Jean-Pierre Fleury, who began working biodynamically in 1989 with 3ha of vines before converting his entire 15ha estate to biodynamics in 1992.
However, as you say, Pascal Leclerc of Leclerc-Briant was another early pioneer, beginning in 1990 with 2.5ha and eventually converting all of his 30ha to biodynamics by 2005.
Today virtually all of Champagne’s best producers have experimented with biodynamics, with some wholeheartedly adopting the practice and others choosing to follow their own path.
Louis Roederer is the largest biodynamic vineyard owner in the region, having officially begun working with biodynamics since 2007; 109ha of the house’s 240ha are currently farmed biodynamically, with an additional 122ha certified organic.
This question first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Decanter magazine.