Bees and vines: the role of beehives at the Castel Family Estates.
For a number of years now, the winegrowing practices at the heart of the Castel Family Estates have made significant strides forward. On a daily basis, the technical teams assure the implementation of a strategy to reduce inputs and a new approach to working the soil, both as part of a quality-driven, sustainable winegrowing philosophy. Today, as a result of many years of hard work, the Castel Family Estate vineyards offer an increasingly welcoming habitat for pollinating insects.
At three family estate properties (Château Montlabert, Château de Goëlane and Château d’Arcins), the technical teams have chosen to enhance this habitat, installing around 15 beehives in the heart of the vineyards. Benefitting not only from a healthy vineyard, but also from extraordinary biodiversity amid the surrounding vegetation, bees take advantage of multiple ecosystems: water sources including ponds and streams, many acres of forests, wild flowers that grow alongside the plots of vines, trees that adorn the parks and gardens, and many different varieties of green manure crops sewn between the rows of vines.
More specifically, at Château Montlabert, the pollinating insects enjoy 3 hectares of parks and tree-lined pathways, with around twenty different tyoes of trees. The Taillas stream, which borders the property, offers a vital water source. Château de Goëlane in the Entre-deux-Mers is surrounded by 100 hectares of woodland, while an empty plot waiting to be replanted with vines is filled with wildflowers. This same environmental wealth is present at Château d’Arcins in the Médoc, which borders a large area of woodland to the south east, overflowing with melliferous plants.
The evidence of this biodiversity can be found in the three different honeys that are produced, which possess their own complex flavour profile, each a representation of its own unique « terroir ». Three members of the Family Estates team are in charge of taking care of the hives and making the honey: the propery managers at Château Montlabert and Château de Goëlane, and the cellar master at Château d’Arcins. These three people act as male sure that the bees and their hives remain healthy.