Going green in the vineyards?

by Eve Resnick on December 8, 2009

in General

Those last few months I’ve been collecting information on green winemaking, biodynamism, and sustainable development. Not so much because I thought about writing about it but mostly because I was curious about this trend after tasting many organic wines.

This lead me to Olivier Dauga, a winemaker and consultant in Bordeaux, whom I met during Vinexpo. Dauga amazed me when he said he didn’t believe in organic winemaking because of the use of copper. Equally, biodynamism doesn’t sit naturally with him – because, “as a concept it is too complicated”. What’s the solution? Biotope! According to Dauga, it “means working the vines in harmony with nature, and thinking of the vineyard as part of a wider natural estate.” For example, it can lead to protect some pre-phyloxerra vines that are still growing on sandy soils, and still producing grapes from ungrafted vines. Everywhere, it is about taking into account the natural flora and fauna, and not engaging in winemaking practises that would be harmful to them.

What’s the difference with green winemaking? Not much if I believe Dauga’s latest project: his Green Winemaking Charter. According to the press release, “The Charter looks at key stages across the entire winemaking cycle, and suggests concrete ways to optimise energy consumption, to reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, to phase out use of herbicides, to apply prevention rather than cure measures against disease, to respect treatment thresholds, to encourage biodiversity, and to ensure reduced use of sulphur in the cellars.”

“There are many practical ways which ensure clean, clever winemaking and keep the quality of our wines paramount,” says Dauga. “Part of the solution is using sensible viticulture such as clearing weeds away manually and not using treatments, and partly it is understanding as new
technologies evolve to help us find ecologically-sound solutions. Part of my job with this charter
will be to ensure my clients know not just what is out there, but what is coming.”

Dauga’s project could help the wine makers to reduce their production of carbone and lead to a cleaner way of making wine. No exciting technology behind the project, just common sense but very useful in our crazy world!

{ 2 comments }

1 Veronique - The American formerly known as Ceci December 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Evelyne! I jsut stumbled across your blog while doing some research for a project for my Masters in Wine Business program I am doing in Dijon, France at the Burgundy School of Business. And I have been glued to this blog for sometime (a good "break" from my project!) I am just clicking from post, to post, to post! I too am a fellow wine blogger, Vinously Speaking (on blogspot.com) and I just wanted to pass on some blogger to blogger support! I will definitely keep up with you blog now that I have found it! Loving it! I too am (beginning) to collect research on sustainable wines topics, issues, etc. as I think this is the field I will do my thesis in. Thanks again for the amazing blog! – The Ceci Sipper

2 Evelyne Resnick December 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Hi Veronique,

Thanks for the great comment and your kind words. I'll check your blog and we should keep in touch. Give my best to Joëlle Brouard. Hope we meet in Dijon. Eve

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