Serres was born at Villeneuve-de-Berg, Ardèche. His book was notable for its recommendation to wine growers that they plant 5-6 varieties in their vineyards to balance the risk of a crop failing, and the early advocating of crop rotation. 'Le théâtre de l'agriculture' recommends Métayage (Sharecropping) as cash tenants took all the risks so would demand lower rent while hired labour was expensive to manage. Sharecroppers administer themselves and risks are divided with the landlord. Olivier only thought large landowners should take the risk of hiring labourers and running the estate themselves.