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

4th April, 2019 by Elizabeth Gabay

Biodiversity

Biodynanic farming: manure is buried in cows’ horns to enrich the soil.

The scale of vineyards run by co-ops under organic and sustainable methods allows for a significant impact on the environment. Bees, valuable indicators of biodiversity and the environmental footprint, are encouraged. Les Vignerons de Tornac, in the Cevennes, with half its 400ha cultivated organically, are members of Grappe3 and Abeille, and have planted bee-friendly crops. Since 2015, Buzet has four wines labelled ‘bee friendly’, with hives in the vineyards.

Water use and quality is an important part of sustainable practices. Water polluted by insecticides and herbicides is a far-reaching concern, and even with organic production, the use of copper, a heavy metal, which can filter through to the water table, has caused worry. For the Cave Héracles, conversion to being organic was originally instigated by the water company Perrier, whose source lies nearby. Concerned by the run-off of chemicals, Perrier approached the co-operative, and in 1994, 24ha were converted to organic viticulture. Quarante works with the Convention BI-EAU to protect the use of water. To address the problem of pesticide residues filtering down to the water table, the….

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