Gérard Bertrand: “I think that 50% of vineyards will be organic in 10 years' time”

Tuesday May 18 2021 by Vitisphere

 “When you lay yourself bare as I do in my book, it is because you have deep-seated beliefs and are not afraid of criticism”, explains Gérard Bertrand. “When you lay yourself bare as I do in my book, it is because you have deep-seated beliefs and are not afraid of criticism”, explains Gérard Bertrand. - Photo credit : Ulrich Lebeuf

Leading Languedoc wine industry personality Gérard Bertrand has written an unexpected essay, which reads like a mission statement. In the 192-page ‘La Nature au Cœur’ published by Albin Michel, Gérard Bertrand calls on his readers to become individually aware of the collective challenges posed by climate change, that have been worsened by the health crisis.

 

Until now you have been described as a professional rugby player, a biodynamic winegrower and a Languedoc wine shipper. Should we add ‘utopian author’, or even ‘philosopher’ to the list?

I don't claim to be a philosopher. I wanted to write an essay, some would say a manifesto, on the current paradigm shift. We have to realise that the planet is the priority. It is the planet that accommodates us, not the other way around. I draw conclusions from my personal and professional experiences.

You say that vineyards must pivot towards environmental conservation and that, because wine is not a basic necessity, it must be made in an exemplary way...

Winegrowing must be exemplary. The mission of farming is to feed people. The mission of winegrowing is to bring joy to people. Wine as a food has long since ceased to exist. Another paradigm has appeared for wine, with a turning point in terms of ecology and energy usage. We must stop making people feel guilty, transportation represents only a fraction of greenhouse gas emissions. We need to see how we can sequester carbon through living soils for growing wine, grass cover and capturing moisture...

In your book, you warn of the “next pesticide residue scandal” and seem to predict that the future for winegrowing will be 100% organic.

That's not what I wrote. I think that 50% of vineyards will be organic in 10 years’ time. That's what consumers are demanding. The future is organic. Herbicides will be the first to go. They will be banned over the next five years and will involve 100% of vineyard acreage. We now know how to weed using machines, but it requires more manpower and technique.

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