Hennessy Cognacs to outlaw weedkillers over the next decade

Monday April 29 2019 by Vitisphere

“We must ramp up the existing momentum. We no longer have the luxury of time ahead of us. We might not have ten years [to do away with herbicides]”, said Bernard Peillon.“We must ramp up the existing momentum. We no longer have the luxury of time ahead of us. We might not have ten years [to do away with herbicides]”, said Bernard Peillon. - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

The announcement did not elicit a sound, neither of amazement nor disapproval, but rather a shudder amongst the audience of Charente winegrowers gathered on 24 April in the Espace 3000 in Cognac. “In 2028, there will be zero weedkillers across the entire acreage of our partner growers”, said Florent Morillon, production director at Hennessy, at the third meeting between the merchant and its vineyard partners.

To provide itself with the means of achieving its ambitions, and reassure its 1,600 suppliers, Hennessy has introduced a support schedule to implement sustainable alternatives on the 34,000 hectares of vines in its supply area (45% of AOC Cognac acreage). By 2022, all Hennessy estates will set an example by dispensing with weedkillers over 180 hectares of experimental vineyards. The support plan will revolve primarily around a new team of dedicated technical and administrative experts, in order to offer advice geared to each farm.

By dispensing with all herbicides (including glyphosate), Hennessy's suppliers will have to study grassing and tillage practices, which will inevitably entail additional costs. To finance the transition to 0% herbicides, Hennessy has stressed the latest prices of its brandy purchases, which rose by 8% for 2018 harvest contracts.

We must ramp up the existing momentum. We no longer have the luxury of time ahead of us. We might not have ten years [to do away with herbicides]”, said Bernard Peillon, president of Hennessy (LVMH group). He emphasised that “soon being the world's leading brand of spirits by value is no longer enough, we must also be the most responsible. Standards are even higher for luxury goods and Cognac. We have no excuse for not having the resources”.

 

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