Environmentally friendly: new Bordeaux initiative

Press release – 23 May

Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru winegrowers commit to an “environmentally friendly” approach 

At their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 16th May 2017, the winegrowers of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council voted in favour of adopting environmentally friendly cultivation practices that will soon be added to the requirements of their appellations.
Saint-Emilion has often been a leader in issues related to the environment. Many individual or collective initiatives have been taken that improve winegrowing practices and reduce environmental impacts : agricultural equipment sharing collectives, the Libourne area Defence Group against Harmful Organisms, the TULIPE biodiversity initiative, environmental management systems, the EU’s Life+ funding programme, the BioDiVine biodiversity management project, etc.

In line with these initiatives and in an effort to go further, the Saint-Emilion Wine Council embarked on discussions with all the winegrowers in the Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint- Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru appellation areas. An Environmental Commission worked on this project for more than a year. A wide-ranging survey of all properties was carried out to characterise the environmental cultivation practices employed, and more than 400 winegrowers (54%) responded. Their answers revealed that they cared about the subject and were really conscious of the issues. The many reasons cited varied from meeting customers’ expectations to being worthy of a thousand-year-old wine-producing area and its listing as a UNESCO heritage site, while sometimes the views given opposed each other.

Based on these findings, the Environmental Commission drafted a series of proposals that were approved by the Board. The President of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council, Jean-François Galhaud saw to it that these measures were put to the vote during the Annual General Meeting on 16th May 2017, which was attended by a record number of members. Almost 350 votes were registered.

The environmental cultivation measures adopted by a large majority are the following:

– Blanket use of herbicides to be forbidden
– Use of herbicides on plot boundaries to be forbidden
– Estate’s treatment frequency indices to be measured and identified
– Vineyard and winery effluent treatment obligatory
– Commitment from every winegrower to work to obtain officially recognised environmental 
or organic certification, either individually or collectively, to be put into action before the 2019 harvest.

The last ambitious, innovative measure bears witness to the Council’s winegrowers’ ambition to embrace the future collectively and to make all the efforts of recent years bear palpable fruit. 
The Wine Council will support winegrowers in applying the environmental measures at every estate.

Press contacts 
Saint-Emilion Wine Council – Tel. +33 557 555 050
Franck Binard, Director of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council – franck.binard@vins-saint-emilion.com Philippe Raymond, Technical Director – philippe.raymond@vins-saint-emilion.com 
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