The vineyards of Syrah sit on soil composed of schist and granite with a very thin topsoil that provides excellent drainage. After manual harvest, the grapes are left to cold-macerate for three or so days; then, once de-stemmed and crushed, the fermentation proceeds for approximately three to four weeks. Only indigenous yeasts are used. There follows an elevage of eighteen to twenty-four months in barrels of varying sizes (225, 400 and 600 liters) before the wine is bottled without fining or filtration. Normal production is on the order of 8,000 bottles per year. The vines are between 10 and 65 years of age.
Etienne Becheras's domaine is polycultural. It extends for 12 hectares principally within the confines of the village of Arras which borders and overlooks the Rhone River on the western side. The domaine farms organically. The five hectares situated on the flat lands along the Rhone are planted to cherry and apricot trees. Three are four hectares of vineyards which are planted on the limestone and gravel soils which mount in altitude and are on steep hillsides. The vineyards are placed on long terraces supported by hand-constructed stone walls. As a result, almost all work must be done by hand without the aid of mechanical implements. The remainder of the property is dedicated to forest where the ash and acacia trees are used as building and heating materials and offer the extra advantage of presenting ideal conditions for the growth of edible mushrooms and truffles!
The four hectares of vineyards are within the appellation of Saint Joseph. Only 4/10ths of a hectare are planted to the white grapes of Marsanne and Roussanne, enough to produce about four to six barrels (1200 to 1500 bottles) per year. The remaining 3.6 hectares are planted to Syrah with the various plots situated in the neighboring villages of Arras and Vion. In addition, B�cheras exploits an additional one hectare of vines further south in the village of Mercurol. From this site, a small amount of Crozes Hermitage Rouge is produced.