The Bio Precision approach, native of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte, aims to match the most innovative viticulture and vinification techniques with the greatest respect of the living: the soil and the vine. This method promotes the bio diversity and the balance of the vineyard ecosystem through hedge plantation, use of natural grass, production of organic compost or horse ploughing among other techniques.
It focuses as well on preserving the genetic diversity of the vine and therefore the complexity of our wines thanks to vine graft, clone selection and rootstock mother vine on the “La Lande” island on the Garonne river. The entire team of Château Smith Haut Lafitte is dedicated to use the most up-to-date technology for the best expression and preservation of the terroir.
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, we implement the traditional viticulture techniques such as earthing-up the vines or horse ploughing of the fragile and sharp plots of white vine. We totally banished any chemical product and favor organic methods to fight against the various dangers that threaten the vine: mating confusion of the grape berries moths with pheromones, use of the typhlodromus mites which are the natural predators of the red spider mites and prevention of the grey rot thanks to the bacillus subtilis that naturally prevents the development of the botrytis, among other processes.
We enhance the vine growing cycle with organic compost made of vine shots left over from pruning, grape pomace and manure from cows and horses. This natural fertilization system improves soils living quality. We strengthen as well the fauna diversity of the vineyard through a hedge plantation program of more than 500 meters per year and the implementation of several beehives.
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, we harvest by hand and transport the grapes into small specially-designed 7 to 9 kg crates.
The grape clusters go from the picker’s hand directly to the sorting table at the reception area of the vat room, unbruised and in perfect condition. We created and use as well ergonomic grape hods to improve the working conditions of pickers team.
To preserve the integrity of the grape berries, we use the destemming Winery system that gently shakes the clusters (by soft vibrations) and frees the berries from the stem perfectly. Then, the innovative optical Vistalys sorting, that we have employed since 2008, sorts the berries after taking and analyzing pictures of them according to determinated factors. Undesirable elements are of course removed (pieces of leaves, small green berries, etc.). After an ultimate hand-sorting control, we convey the meticulously selected berries by gravity to 80-hectolitre truncated cone-shaped wooden vats. In that way, we ferment healthy berries of optimum and homogeneous quality in separated batches that reflect the complexity of our terroir of günzian gravel.
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, we produce our own young vines and rootstock mother vine on the La Lande island: a protected and closed environment on the Garonne river 10 minutes away from the Château. Therefore we preserve the genetic diversity of the vine and improve the complexity of our wines.
We are certain that a great wine comes from the perfect alliance between the vine and its terroir. An in-depth study of our vineyard measuring electric resistivity of the soil, carried out for more than 18 months, every 50 cm of every vine row, combined with a pedological study through soil samples analysis allowed us to build a precise map of the soils of the vineyard: the terroir. Therefore we adapt the vine culture to the characteristics of the soil within every plot of the vineyard.
We take special care of following the vine maturity throughout the year.
Thanks to the satellite imagery analyzing system Oenoview that defines zones of homogeneous oenological maturity, we know in every single vine row of the vineyard the evolution of the berries maturity.
Then we go in the vineyard to taste the grapes and place small marks on the vines that will be harvested the following day. Therefore we harvest vine per vine into the different plots with perfect grape ripeness accuracy.
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, we believe that the symbiosis between the wine and the oak is essential in the creation of a wine of exception. That is why we select the oak directly from the very best oak trees of the prestigious French forests of Tronçais and Jupille.
Then we dry the merrains, oak freshly-cut staves, outdoor for two years according to the traditional methods. Afterwards, our Maître artisan tonnelier, cooper master, creates tailor-made barrels in the Château cooperage according the unique profile, character and complexity of each of our wines.