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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
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Jul 5, 2022

Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier of Château Anthonic in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux is revolutionizing the entire Médoc with a novel approach to farming and adapting to climate change: Agroforestry. This show talks about the practice and the unbelievable results that can be achieved by farming in this way. It will inspire hope that there is a future for viticulture, even in areas where there is great climate change.


Photo: Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier Château Anthonic

Château Anthonic is in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It is owned and operated by Jean-Baptiste and Nathalie Cordonnier. They make very classically styled, delicious (and relatively low alcohol) red wine from mainly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic

Since 2016, Jean-Baptiste and his team have practiced agroforestry –trying to mimic the soils and conditions of the forest to enrich soil health and encourage the vines to return to a state where they are part of an eco-system, with fungi, trees, wildlife, and healthy micro-organisms. Using very specialized cover crops, they have managed to lower soil temperatures and keep sugar levels under control by practicing the tenets he discusses.


May people claim to do great things, but Jean-Baptise is the real deal. If there is anything that will inspire hope that human ingenuity and nature may help us out of bad times to come, this show is it.


Here are the topics we discussed:


  • Jean-Baptiste tells us about his very different educational background, which led him to tackle environmental issues in the way he does today. Forestry, not viticulture, was the foundation of his education (and we should all be grateful for that!)


  • We get a good background on Moulis-en-Médoc – the terroir, the diversity, and where Château Anthonic is located. We discuss the blue clay, which makes up 70% of his vineyard

Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Blue Clay Château Anthonic 

  • Then we get into the details of just how we have gotten into the predicament in farming that we have today. Jean-Baptiste explains the phases that humans have gone through to deplete the earth through farming (inadvertently and through a series of bad decisions). He addresses how “the new guest in the dance”, climate change has sped up the need for a solution.

Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic 

  • We get into the nuts and bolts of agroforestry and how hedges, trees, and grasses in the vineyard are the keys to bringing back fungi and mico-organisms that are vital to making the land healthier and, ultimately, to maintaining the style of Bordeaux that many of us love. He also addresses the economics of the vineyard, and how planting trees has actually given him 2% MORE yield in his vineyard, despite the trees taking out two rows per hectare.



  • Jean-Baptiste shares the results of his years of agroforestry practices: lower alcohol and more acidity in his grapes, less water stress, and more balanced wines. He is too modest to really brag, but he has trained first and second growth chateaux on the practices of agroforestry, as well as many other prestigious chateaux in the Médoc and beyond. Many are implementing his methods in their vineyards.


  • Jean-Baptiste leaves us with a message of hope – viticulture is not doomed, Bordeaux is a phoenix, and the rapidity with which change has come means the future is bright for this warming and changing climate, regardless of what nonsense naysayers may spout.

Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic 



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