In focus: How French wine co-ops are going green

4th April, 2019 by Elizabeth Gabay

Reducing pesticide use

Earning their stripes: bees are a good indicator of biodiversity.

Organic viticulture has been present in co-ops over the past 30 years, but it is rare for all members to farm organically. As Baptiste Fabre, marketing director of Loire Propriétés says, when making decisions to convert to organic viticulture: “A small domaine is more flexible in its management. In a co-operative you have to vote to decide big changes in the status.” Older or part-time members may struggle with the extra work required to become organic. To encourage organic practices, co-operatives like Les Caves du Pays de Quarante et du Pays d’Heric offer financial aid to producers converting to organic and more sustainable viticulture. Loire Propriétés pays higher rates for organic grapes. Both employ a consultant to help with conversion to organic viticulture. The cost of producing organic wine is often twice that of non-organic. Education is essential. Eric Isnard, director of Moulin de la Roque, says he tries to lead by example. “If others see how it works in my vineyards, they are more likely to follow.”

France, the second-largest consumer of pesticides in Europe, with vineyards….

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