Earth Day is right around the corner, and many French vineyards want the world to know about the importance of sustainability in winemaking. From the Languedoc to the Loire Valley, winemakers are working hard to take care of the environment. Indeed vignerons have been sounding the alarm about climate change for years. Back in 2014, we reported how 50 leading wine producers had written an open letter to then President Sarkozy in 2009 about the grave threat to French wines. “Marked by higher alcohol levels, over-sunned aromatic ranges and denser textures, our wines could lose their unique soul. Viticulture will slowly die out as vineyards cross the Channel and head north”.
The Champagne Bureau recently published this infographic to show how the wine region is working on sustainability in its vineyards. To quote the official press release, “The houses and growers of Champagne are actively engaged in innovative techniques and initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate environmental harms related to climate change.”
The results of global warming in Champagne country are obvious. The 2018 harvest season was the fifth vintage beginning in August in the last 15 years. As explained by the Champagne Bureau, “While great for grape yields, bumper harvests also signal a changing climate that winemakers must adapt to.”
Notably, Champagne was the first wine-growing region in the world to conduct a carbon footprint assessment in 2003. With this carbon plan, the region has been able to reduce the emissions generated by each bottle of Champagne by 20 percent over the last 15 years. Also, Champagne wineries reuse 100 percent of their wastewater and recycle 90 percent of their industrial waste.
The ultimate goal is for Champagne to lower its total carbon footprint 75 percent by 2050 and use zero herbicide products by 2025.