First carbon-neutral vineyards in Bordeaux

  • Thursday 21 June 2007

Despagne Family vineyards has instigated a programme for biofuel and waste management in an attempt to create a carbon neutral vineyard, the first one in Bordeaux.

There is increased interest in the subject from direct customers, importers and industry, owner Thibault Despagne said.

The family sells almost 20% of its production to airlines, which increasingly ask for recycled or recyclable glass, lighter weights and for more environmentally-friendly initiatives in all wines that they stock onboard.

‘It is hard to quantify climate change,’ Despagne told decanter.com. ‘but we do notice that harvest dates are getting earlier and that heat, rain and storms are getting more violent.’

The company has had environmental certification for several years but it is now moving towards more far-reaching green practices: sharing waste disposal, pooling equipment, and developing biofuels.

Despagne has replaced unproductive vines with sunflowers destined for biofuels –1ha of sunflowers creates 660l of oil. He reckons the government vine-pulling programme could be linked in with such projects.’

He has resisted, however, the idea of going fully organic with his wines. ‘The levels of copper that you have to use in organic wines leave damaging traces not only in the soil but in the wine itself. I personally believe that there will be a scandal in 20 years about organic wine, and I will never convert to organic winemaking myself.’

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