Science

Les Medoc: hop experiments in pine trees are about to win

He’s picking hops this week and can’t help but imagine how his beer will taste. “It will be 100% Médoc, from terroir to brewery,” he suggests. He is suspected of already having all the steps of his plan in mind: harvesting, the microbrewery on the family farm, the marketing he masters through his old profession… got it.

Silent voice of childhood

The history of Médoc hops is rooted in “burnout that brings pleasure”. In 2006, after a career in IT and innovative solutions for companies, Thierry Escarré returned to the family farm to catch his breath. “When I was little, in the 1970s, my grandfather operated the estate in mixed agriculture with vineyards, sheep and harvest,” says the Gascon, Lou Berre on a cap (1). As for me, I lost my father very early, I spent my youth looking after this forest. The storms of 1999 and 2009 and the fire of 1990 between Sainte-Aubin and Carcan have had a very strong effect on me. Always, between IT and marketing, this quiet voice from childhood will sound in the corner of his brain, calling him to the forest. “I don’t want industrial exploitation of this array. »

Potatoes are mistaken for hemp

So he opted for agroforestry… but inverted the system. Usually this method of exploitation consists in planting trees in crops. Brings him harvest under the trees. Allowing them to benefit from the contributions and shade of conifers. He starts with potatoes to reintroduce the Medoc variety. “Once, during an aerial surveillance of the forest, the police thought they saw a hemp field. They landed and fell on my potato bushes lined up between rows of pine trees! In 2019, he started growing hops, mainly produced in Alsace and northern France. “I have been trained and supported by Alliance Forêt Bois forest cooperative. »

He cultivates about one hectare with 200 plants of eighteen varieties of hops. He’s testing. Beer production is possible from three hectares. It could be taken over by Adrian, his 25-year-old son. And produce 100% local beer like wine grown, harvested, vinified and bottled on the estate. Maybe try Pinaster next fall…

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