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Louis Latour looks at the bigger picture

Burgundy domain Louis Latour is hoping to encourage producers to work together to promote greater biodiversity and improve vineyard management with a project dubbed “Paysage de Corton”.

Launched last year, the project was designed to make the producers in Corton “look at things on a larger scale”, according to Louis Latour’s assistant director, Boris Champy.

Speaking at a masterclass at the Louis Latour Agency tasting this week, Champy said: “We want to go beyond the scale of the plot.”

Champy explained that it was vital that growers began to realise that the way they work in their vineyards can have a potentially adverse effect on their neighbours.

It is hoped that Paysage de Corton will help to “preserve the authenticity of the landscape and the vitality of the vineyard” as well as benefiting the quality of the local ecosystem and biodiversity.

Studies have been made into soil erosion and the critical importance of the forest on top of the hill in Corton and the soil in helping to absorb excess water.

By showing that preservation of the natural landscape has far-reaching benefits for those whose livelihood depends upon it, Louis Latour is hoping that growers will be encouraged to work in a better way.

The domain is not seeking to force or scare producers into working organically or biodynamically, just more sensibly.

Speaking afterwards to the drinks business, Champy admitted that a project such as this would be, “easier in Bordeaux, when all your vineyards are together. We have to work with some 80 growers”.

Nonetheless, he accepted that people would change “at their own pace”, but added it was very important that projects like Paysage de Corton existed.

He was hopeful that in the next 10 years or so the project could be widened to other appellations in Burgundy and he expected a good response considering that nearly 10% of Burgundian growers farm organically or using integrated production and some 60% practice lutte raisonnée.

Ultimately, he thought, with Burgundy applying for UNESCO World Heritage status this year it was not only necessary to “have something historical but also preserve it”.

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