This year we have completed 10 years since David Léclapart and I met. It was on a trip – which I consider initiatory – through France. I did not know anything about the world of wine or biodynamic agriculture.
At that time I was in the middle of writing my doctoral thesis on social housing in Morocco during the colonial period. The experience of living three years in Morocco had taught me the value of agriculture and fishing as the basis of human development; and the presence of many wise men in those trades, whom I wanted to approach to see if something would stick to me.
So I took a flight to Marseille, one way only. There was no plan. I wanted to do some volunteering on organic farms or work as a seasonal farm worker. I started the search in Ardeche, one of the areas with the largest organic farming movement in France. I joined other friends, students of Sciences of the Sea of Cádiz.
We can’t find work but we haD a great time. We hitchhiked for the first time, camped outdoors, and heard about Pierre Rabi, a benchmark in the humanism of agroecology.
They had to turn back, but I continued on my way. I headed to Les Cevennes, a beautiful mountainous set between Valence and Arles. There I found a volunteer in a farm-shelter run by Rudolph. He was the first to talk to me about biodynamics.
He was a humble-sage, who had recovered ancient water channels to irrigate his orchards. We welcomed families who made routes of several days with children and the help of donkeys. It was an enriching experience. The Maison Blanche family welcomed me very warmly. His daughter was called Ocean and she was teaching me to improve my French.
While there, some friends called me that I was going to harvest Champagne and there was room. I didn’t think twice. The plan sounded great.
Fate made my landing in the world of wine at David Léclapart’s house, without even knowing that he was “David Léclapart”, a famous Champagne producer. What I found was a family and happy atmosphere, with David’s mother -Lucette- cooking wonders for everyone, and with a 50-year-old boy who loved his work, and who again, spoke to me about biodynamics, about the stars and the constellations, of treating plants with plants … that seemed to me an opening to a new world, a very beautiful horizon to which to look up. They were ways of life that attracted me, and people that I admired and wanted to follow a path similar to their lives.
I have precious memories of that August 2011, listening to Zaz in the vans, picking Rudolph’s green beans and then steaming them, popular waltz dances in lost towns.
In 2012 I returned for David’s harvest, and in 2014, 2015, 2016… As a result of that meeting, I began to get closer to viticulture in Sanlúcar. I got into some volunteer crews to learn to prune, graft, and castrate. I wanted to start the house with the foundations, as David had taught me. In 2016, after many years of friendship, David and I decided to start Muchada-Léclapart, importing the vigneron model and biodynamic agriculture, to apply it in palomino vineyards and albariza soils. And here we continue ten years later, in the search for excellence.