King Charles III at Château Smith Haut Lafitte: a shared ecological harmony

22 September 2023
While in France, King Charles III and Queen Camilla honored us with their visit to Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Martillac on Friday, September 22nd.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a classified Grand Cru of Graves in the AOC Pessac-Léognan appellation, was carefully chosen by the royal family for its principles of organic farming and biodynamics, a cause close to Her Majesty's heart. This occasion allowed her to witness the production techniques implemented on the estate since the 1990s by Florence and Daniel Cathiard, the owners of Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
King Charles III: A King of Ecology
It's worth noting that King Charles III has always held a special place in his heart for nature. As early as the 1960s, he publicly advocated for the preservation of the environment. A true environmentalist ahead of his time, Prince Charles turned his attention to the gardens of his country estate, Highgrove House. His goal? To make his gardens an ecological, educational, and economically sustainable model. It can be said that he succeeded.
With a vegetable garden, a wild garden housing over a hundred different plant species, including the largest collection of beech trees in the United Kingdom, and an ecological farm spanning 364 hectares, whose products are sold by the estate, the gardens serve as an educational tool for British school groups to introduce and raise awareness among the younger generation about ecology. Today, Highgrove House remains a leading economic center for Gloucestershire, as it is the county's largest employment hub.
A meeting of Visionaries Committed to Ecology

Like King Charles III with Highgrove House, Florence and Daniel Cathiard were also ahead of their time with Smith Haut Lafitte's commitment to preserving biodiversity in the early 1990s. 


Having transitioned to biodynamics, the estate employs cutting-edge organic farming methods in the vineyards and wineries to respect nature, earning them the label in 2019. No chemical inputs are used to protect the vines from pests like mildew. In addition to being 100% natural, the organic composts, primarily plant-based and favored by the estate's viticulturists, help boost and preserve the vineyard's biodiversity. In line with this vision, beehives, vegetable gardens, orchards, and even a forest enrich the vineyard's natural environment.


This love for organic practices and working as a couple has been passed down through generations in the Cathiard family. Mathilde, the eldest daughter, founded the cosmetics brand Caudalie (which uses grape seeds as the active ingredient in its creams) with her husband, and Alice, along with her husband Jérôme Tourbier, created the 5-star hotel complex Les Sources de Caudalie home to the Vinotherapy SPA the restaurants, La Grand'Vigne (two stars in the Michelin Guide), La Table du Lavoir, and ROUGEwhere plates are filled with organic vegetables sourced from the gardens.


Les Sources de Caudalie, a veritable ecosystem the art of living in the heart of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyards


Alice and Jérôme Tourbier have been committed to green tourism for over twenty years, starting with the creation of the 5-star hotel Les Sources de Caudalie in 1999.

Their aim? To create a place dedicated to others and a continuous quest for a unique art of living centered around nature.

Since then, they have consistently evolved Les Sources de Caudalie, a hamlet featuring 61 rooms and suites, three restaurants and the Vinothérapie® Spa-- a therapeutic blend of hot spring water and vine and grape extracts. In harmony with the surrounding nature, the hotel's philosophy is to leverage the natural richness of the vine, grapes, and terroir to provide guests with a unique experience. Here, luxury is understated, but service is tailor-made and respectful of life.


Les Sources de Caudalie: The First Palace Awarded the "European Ecolabel"


We are determined to consume consciously and to apply sustainable development as a principle of decision and action.

Les Sources de Caudalie is the first Palace to receive the coveted "European Ecolabel" distinction.

Its commitments: to reduce its carbon footprint, protect biodiversity and include its suppliers and service providers in this environmental choice.

This eco-responsible approach is expressed in the preservation of resources by reducing water and energy consumption.

All waste is sorted and recycled, with precise monthly tracking and reduction objectives.

In the hotel's restaurants, the focus is on showcasing produce from the in-house garden. What is not cultivated on-site using permaculture principles is sourced primarily from Nouvelle Aquitaine. The hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant offers only one meat dish with controlled portion sizes, all aimed at minimizing its impact.

In guest rooms, various eco-friendly measures have been implemented. Shower products have been redesigned to be offered in larger, recyclable containers. These cosmetics, made in France, have a minimum of 95% natural ingredients. Disposable amenities have been replaced with reusable items. Single-use water bottles have been swapped for on-site filtered water presented in sterilized, reusable glass bottles. Linen renewal is limited, and slippers have become biodegradable.


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