Champagne growers will not be able to spend more than 30% of their sales revenue on pesticides and fuel if they are to meet new environmental standards set by the region’s wine council, the CIVC.
The CIVC is seeking to bolster Champagne’s environmental credentials by launching a new certification scheme that is designed to build on France’s nationwide environmental standard, the Haut Valeur Environnementale (HVE).
To qualify, producers must meet a range of criteria, including 30% of their turnover on so-called ‘primary’ inputs, like pesticides and fuel.
‘The pioneers will already be hitting it, but not everyone,’ CIVC spokesperson Thibault le Mailloux told Decanter.com on the sidelines of the Vinexpo Asia Pacific conference in Hong Kong.
A technical booklet explaining the new voluntary certification, and detailing 125 measures, will be distributed to all 20,000 growers across the Champagne region. Other criteria include a commitment to protect hedgerows surrounding vineyards, and to replace metal sticks for trellising with wooden ones.
‘There are four main criteria to the certification,’ Le Mailloux said. ‘The first is about protecting the landscape of the region; something that is linked to our candidature for UNESCO World Heritage recognition. The others are encouraging biodiversity, limiting waste and use of phytosanitary products such as pesticides, and the overall reduction of the carbon footprint.’
Champagne was the first wine region in France to begin a Carbon Initiative back in 2003. Houses have since reduced the carbon footprint of each bottle of Champagne by 15%, while pesticide use has dropped by 50%, the CIVC said.
Le Mailloux said the incentive for producers to meet the new standard is to gain a ‘competitive advantage’ in the market. Consumers, he said, expect good environmental stewardship.
But, it is understood that there are some concerns among Champagne houses about the cost involved, and whether consumers would accept higher prices as a result.
Written by Jane Anson & Chris Mercer