The environment at the heart of the wineries

More and more wineries are implementing environmentally friendly actions to preserve the soil, fauna and flora. A look at these “organic” commitments made by many winegrowers.

A real awareness in favor of the environment

For several years, the increase in consumer demand for more environmentally friendly wines has pushed industry professionals towards a real awareness.

The environmental impact of wine is considerable and must be reduced as much as possible in order to allow the country’s wineries to be part of a sustainable development process. For a wine estate, it is a question of adopting a true work philosophy and ensuring the sustainability of production, while respecting the new environmental standards.

Proof of the enthusiasm of wine lovers for these issues, slow tourism around wine is developing more and more in France and throughout the world. These visitors of a new kind wish to leave the beaten track of mass tourism to discover responsible tourism, by getting to know the places, the inhabitants and the local products while respecting the environment.

It is therefore only natural that many committed wineries offer tastings and experiments are keen to present both their new ways of working and their wines.

The city of Saint-Emilion offers wine tourism initiatives in line with the trend of slow tourism, such as “the road of organic wines”, a hiking trail or with a bike ride of 15 km on “the road of the first classified wines”. After one of his excursions through the vineyards, the slow tourist will be able to stop for a tasting in a Bordeaux château and discuss new organic production methods with the winemakers.

In Provence, the Navicelle estate welcomes slow tourists for an excursion in the plantations and a visit of the cellars in the company of the winemakers. From the work in the vineyards to the wine making process, the travelers learn all about biodynamic farming and end their visit with a tasting of several of the estate’s vintages.

The return to growing methods that respect the soil and the biodiversity of the land

The main idea of each environmentally conscious winery is to produce quality wines using new, more environmentally friendly techniques.

Winegrowers are now turning to organic farming, conventional farming and sustainable agriculture to produce a new kind of wine: organic wine, natural wine, biodynamic wine or even vegan wine.

We are witnessing a return to traditional production methods: harvesting by hand, use of compost or natural organic stimulants (rather than chemical pesticides), respect for natural growing cycles, vinification without additions, etc.

In the Loire, at the Domaine de Gagnebert, the winegrowers practice reasoned agriculture and have been committed to sustainable development for many years.

After having developed reasoned agriculture, the estate of Saint Jean de l’Arbousier located in the Languedoc region of France, has been pursuing its sustainable development approach since April 2010 by switching to organic farming.

Since 2015, the Val de Loire vineyard has 416 winegrowers committed to sustainable development. These wine and nature enthusiasts have joined forces to convert 23% of the hectares they cultivate to organic farming.

The transition to an organic vineyard is not limited to France, but has already spread to the rest of the world. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the transition to organic viticulture has touched Europe, then the main wine producing countries such as the United States, Australia, South Africa, but also China before extending to many other countries, such as Russia.

Environmental certifications: the consecration of the winegrower

To encourage winegrowers to reduce the carbon impact of their activity by favoring environmentally friendly production methods, various environmental labels and certifications have been set up, both at national and European level.

These labels are increasingly sought after by consumers and wine lovers, as they provide a guarantee.

Among these certifications, the High Environmental Value (HVE) proves that the wine meets 4 main criteria with a recognized level of environmental excellence:

  1. The respect and protection of biodiversity around the vine and on the vineyard thanks to natural processes
  2. A phytosanitary strategy to eliminate the use of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals
  3. Natural and optimized fertilization management
  4. Water management aimed at optimizing the use of natural water resources and avoiding waste

Other labels have also emerged in recent years and reward the involvement and work of winegrowers, as well as the environmental steps taken by the various wine professionals:

  • For organic wines: the European Organic Label
  • For natural wines: the label Vin méthode nature and the label S.A.I.N.S. (No Inputs or Sulfite)
  • For 100% organic farming: the Nature label and the Progrès and Bio Cohérence labels
  • For biodynamic wines: the Demeter label and the Biodyvin label

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