Champagne aims to be herbicide-free by 2025

Friday December 21 2018 by Vitisphere

Champagne is preparing to phase out the use of herbicides.Champagne is preparing to phase out the use of herbicides. - Photo credit : DR

"The die is cast: the political debate on glyphosate, which is certainly not the most dangerous molecule, is a good example of what to expect”, said Jean-Marie Barillère, chairman of the association of Champagne houses, at the AGM of the Champagne winegrowers’ association on December 6 in Epernay. “There is a strong chance that the molecules we know and use today will no longer be approved from 2022, i.e. tomorrow”. For the chairman of the negociants, there are only two possible outcomes: “Either we move forward or we should expect to be forced to move forward with all the risks that this entails from an ecological perspective, in terms of image and therefore economy for our industry and our companies. I would rather map out a virtuous future for Champagne, than live in the past”. Barillère has set two objectives for the Champagne industry: the end to herbicides in 2025 and 100% certified vineyards (Ed: sustainable viticulture) by 2030.

An end to herbicides does not mean zero carbon

Maxime Toubart, chairman of the Champagne winegrowers' association, is on the same wavelength: “Yes, the objective is to be able to talk about a 100% sustainable, committed and exemplary Champagne region in a few years' time, and to be able to state that no weedkillers are used”.

In 2025, the ban on the use of herbicides could be included in production specifications for the appellation, although no official decision has been made so far.

The other moot point is: will the zero weedkiller objective be compatible with Champagne's scheme to reduce its carbon footprint (down 14% since 2003) ?

 

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