Green initiatives from Bordeaux

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Olivier DAUGA N&B_0011.jpgWhile the world’s attention is focused on Copenhagen and the climate change conference there, in a quiet corner of Bordeaux, France, steps are being taken to help winemakers around the world to ‘go green’, writes Ruma Singh. Right: Bordeaux-based wine consultant Olivier Dauga believes that the French can lead the wine world from the front


In fact, Bordeaux began the ‘Carbon Initiative’ in 2008, a six-month study that found the industry produces 200,000 tonnes of carbon per year. Alain Vironneau, president of the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB), said at the time, “We intend to bring this figure down by 30,000 tonnes within five years, and to have an overall reduction of 75% by 2050.”
Now, influential Bordeaux-based wine consultant Olivier Dauga who is working with over 30 properties, believes that the French can lead the wine world from the front when it comes to adopting environmentally-friendly practices. His Green Winemaking Charter spells out ways to do just that.
“We need to be thinking together about how we can protect our environment and our cultural heritage for future generations. I believe that organic winemaking doesn’t go far enough, and it is difficult to follow financially. Instead, this Charter is based upon common sense, and practical ways to lower carbon footprint while making natural, healthy wines.” says Dauga.
The Charter has taken nearly a year to research and compile, helped by Geology Masters researcher Romain Leycuras. Launched last week, Dauga hopes to begin rolling it out with his clients in early 2010.
The Charter looks at key stages across the entire winemaking cycle, and suggests concrete ways to optimise energy consumption, to reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, to phase out use of herbicides, to apply prevention rather than cure measures against disease, to respect treatment thresholds, to encourage biodiversity, and to ensure reduced use of sulphur in the cellars.
“There are many practical ways which ensure clean, clever winemaking and keep the quality of our wines paramount,” says Dauga. “Part of the solution is using sensible viticulture such as clearing weeds away manually and not using treatments, and partly it is understanding as new technologies evolve to help us find ecologically-sound solutions. Part of my job with this charter will be to ensure my clients know not just what is out there, but what is coming.”
The first of Dauga’s clients interested in this Charter include Roques Mauriac, la Vieille Chapelle, Grand Boise, Caronne Ste Gemme and Domaines Castel.

For details on the Charter, please go to www.daugabordeaux.com

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