Chateau Lafite Rothschild is reducing pesticide and fungicide use under a green charter to be implemented at all Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) properties.
The sustainability charter is ‘a program to become cleaner and cleaner’ DBR managing director Christophe Salin said.
‘We have been working on it for many years. I hate to see it as a marketing tool: it’s something we do as farmers,’ he added.
‘We are giving the charter to all our suppliers, our clients and our workers because we are trying to make everything better, not only for the vineyards and the wine, but the people we are living and working with.’
Trials to limit pesticide application have been carried out for two years on ten of the 92ha at the company’s Château Rieussec in Sauternes using the ‘GreenSeeker’ system.
‘We have reduced the volume of fungicide used for mildew and powdery mildew by 17% while maintaining the vines in perfect health,’ vineyard manager Jean de Roquefeuil said.
He added that the results needed to be confirmed, ‘because there has not been a high risk of mildew. That is the question that we need to answer before we apply this system to the rest of the vineyard.’
The goal of the development charter is not only environmental, but involves ‘the efficiency of our organization, economic sustainability and our social responsibility,’ Salin said.
The company’s main technical initiatives involve stopping ‘all short-term chemical weed control, and reducing pesticide treatments through the use of new technologies such as vigour sensors, natural defence stimulators and more time devoted to observation.’
Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) produces some 10m bottles annually, from properties around the world including Château Lafite, L’Evangile, Duhart-Milon and Rieussec in Bordeaux, Château d’ Aussières in the Languedoc, Viña Los Vascos in Chile, Bodegas Caro in Argentina and a vineyard under development in China.
Written by Janice Fuhrman