|We have introduced a new rating system to measure the eco-friendliness of our producers. In previous wine lists, we have used a simple smiley-face symbol to indicate growers who have made a special effort to grow grapes and make their wines in the 'greenest' possible manner. It is now time to use a more accurate and measurable system as more and more of our domaines and estates move towards sustainable vineyard management and minimum intervention in the winery.|
It is important to emphasise that using eco-friendly, organic or bio-dynamic viticultural and oenological methods is not a panacea that guarantee that a wine is of good quality. It all boils down to how talented the grape-grower or wine maker is in converting theory into practise.
The wines that are given an 'Eco-Warrior Rating' have come from growers who, although they might not be members of any 'organic' or 'bio-dynamic' organisation, strongly believe in growing grapes and making wines using the most environmentally friendly methods possible. Below is a list of the criteria that come together to help make a fully-fledged 'CPW Eco-Warrior':
1) a philosophy that is centred around the stimulation of their vineyard's natural defences, thereby creating a balance between the mineral, animal and plant worlds (biodiversity).
2) when it is necessary to treat the vineyards, they concentrate on using natural products, avoiding the incorporation of man-made fertilisers, preferring to use manure and only use pesticides and herbicides as a last resort. In France, this is called Lutte RaisonnÃ©e (the nearest equivalent in the UK being Integrated Farm Management, although this goes a lot further).
3) the regeneration of degraded soils, the introduction of ploughing (which vastly reduces the need to use herbicides) and the planting of seasonal, water-retentive crops in their vines. This, coupled with high-density planting, encourages the roots of the vines to burrow deep down, increasing the range of trace elements available, resulting in more complex, 'terroir'-based wines. It also helps to naturally reduce yields and, therefore, increases the quality of the grapes.
4) the healthier a vine is, the more resistant it becomes to such vineyard diseases as mildew and oidium. This in turn means that there is less likelihood of fungicides needing to be applied in years where there are difficult climatic conditions.
5) reduction in the use of copper treatments in the vineyard to help reduce cupric deposits in the soil.
6) an ultimate target of a fully organic (or if wanted, bio-dynamic) vineyard. 7) a policy of hand-picking rather than machine harvesting.
8) when it comes to wine-making, the lowest possible 'doses' of sulphur should be used in the winery and absolutely no 'chemical' or unnatural intervention during the wine-making process.
9) seriously reduce the use of fossil fuels in the vineyards and winery.
10) recycle all waste products including winery effluent and ensure that all packaging materials are sourced from recycled products. Ensure that lighter-weight glass bottles become the norm.
The CPW Eco-Warrior Rating System