Green charter for Bordeaux wines

05 March, 2010

A green charter has been launched for Bordeaux winemakers. It is the brainchild of wine consultant Olivier Dauga who accused the region’s producers of “resting on their laurels” over their environmental commitments.

The charter aims to get producers to reduce their carbon emissions.

Dauga said: “We need to be thinking together about how we can protect our environment and our cultural heritage for future generations. Organic winemaking doesn’t go far enough, and it is difficult to follow financially.

“Instead, the charter is based on common sense, and practical ways to lower our carbon footprint while making natural, healthy wines.”?The charter looks at key stages in the winemaking cycle and suggests ways to optimise energy consumption, reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources, phase out herbicides, encourage biodiversity and reduced sulphur usage.

Dauga admits that take-up by producers in the region has been slow. “A lot of winemakers are not open to change,” he said. “It’s very difficult and we need to take it step-by-step. Compared to other regions in France they are resistant.”?A 2008 study found the Bordeaux wine industry produces 200,000 tonnes of carbon per year.

The Bordeaux Wine Bureau said it aimed to reduce this by 30,000 tonnes within five years, and by 75% overall by 2050.

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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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