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Albert Bichot goes 100% organic in Côte d’Or

Burgundian négociant and grower Albert Bichot is now selling 100% organic certified wines from its vineyards in the Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

This means that all releases from the 2018 vintage onwards from Albert Bichot’s wholly-owned estates are organic, meaning that almost 35 hectares of vineyards are now certified.

According to Guillaume Deglise, who became Albert Bichot’s CEO at the start of this year, the Burgundian business began managing its estates organically over 10 years ago, but only sought certification around five years ago, meaning that the wines from its 2018 harvest are the first to become officially organic.

Before that time, he said that the grapes were organically-grown, but the wine wasn’t made to certified organic standards, which require the use of lower levels of preservative sulphur dioxide.

Meanwhile, Albert Bichot winemaker Alain Serveau said that he was motivated to make the move to organic viticulture having discovered that the wines made from organic grape growers who supply the négociant were higher in quality.

“We found that we made better wine with organic grapes, so it is not only about marketing,” he told db.

However, he also said that it was necessary to seek certification to show consumers that the wines are made to organic standards, with Ecocert Agriculture Biologique printed on the back labels.

“It is important for traceability, because no-one puts non-organic on the label,” he said.

However, Albert Bichot’s biggest estate is located in Chablis, where it has the 65-hectare Domaine Long-Depaquit, which is yet to be certified organic.

Deglise told db that this property was “moving to organics,” with currently 10ha managed organically, while a further 10ha would be farmed this same way in 2020.

“We have to look at each vineyard, and it takes a lot of investment to move to organics, with yields down on average by 15%,” he said.

Albert Bichot also have a 5ha property in Beaujolais cru Moulin-a-Vent, which he said was hard to move over to organics as the vineyard was 100 years old.

Speaking further about the shift to organics in its Cote d’Or vineyards, he said that it was part of a wider move to improve the quality of the wines made by Albert Bichot over the past 15 years.

Finally, referring to the quality of the 2018 vintage release from across Burgundy, Deglise said that the harvest had yielded textbook wines.

“It was a typical Burgundian year, with a great balance between maturity and acidity – it has both,” he said.

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