Mouton Cadet in search of the Holy Grail of ‘zero pesticide residue’

Friday November 27 2020 by Vitisphere

 “The phasing out of CMRs has shown us that many things are possible in Bordeaux”, says Philippe Degrendel. “The phasing out of CMRs has shown us that many things are possible in Bordeaux”, says Philippe Degrendel.

“For our ninetieth harvest, all Mouton Cadet winegrowers are HVE (High Environmental Value) certified”, announced Véronique Hombroekx, CEO of Baron Philippe de Rothschild (BPR) brands. “We have seen our commitments through, despite sometimes challenging situations”, stressed Hombroekx, who manages Bordeaux’s first wine brand, launched in 1930. Hombroekx has already announced that “this is just a preliminary stage and we will be taking it further” with the company’s 250 partner winegrowers, who are under three-year contracts and specifications, and their 1,500 hectares of vines spread across 10 appellations in Bordeaux.

After banning plant protection products classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic from its specifications in 2018 for the reds (in 2019 for the whites and in 2020 for the entire range), Mouton Cadet has also outlawed SDHIs and proven endocrine disruptors listed by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety. Through these commitments, “we are moving towards increasingly lower plant protection residues. Analyses of 2019 white and rosé Mouton Cadet Bordeaux show two residues - glyphosate and fosetyl. The 2019 red Mouton Cadet Bordeaux has only two residues”, pointed out Philippe Degrendel, technical director of BPR brands. Acknowledging that analysis techniques will always be able to detect even the smallest traces of pesticides, Mouton Cadet is committed to “a holistic approach and ongoing improvements to achieve the holy grail of zero residues”, summed up Degrendel.

BPR has not set any timeframe for claiming its wines are free of pesticide residues – for which there is an official endorsement – and is keeping its options open for the future. Drawing on its previous commitments and current work on phasing out the use of herbicides by testing tillage, mowing and controlled grass cover, conversion to organic could soon come under scrutiny at BPR. “Organic certification is not a goal per se. It is an acknowledgement of means”, said Hombroekx, who feels that the current “virtuous circle could move towards organic farming, but there are issues such as the increase in the carbon footprint and the problem of copper”.

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