HELPING NATURE TAKE ITS COURSE
Sustainability is part of all the decisions we make at Château George 7 and it drives how we care for the environment, our resources and how we adapt to climate change. There are modern, knowledge-based approaches that can be combined with the best of what is natural to do the absolute best for the environment. So we use environment-focused practices from all areas including organics. We also take into account social and economic aspects which are very important and yet often overlooked. This holistic approach to sustainability applies to the vineyard and the winery, from the plants to the packaging and everything in between.
Sustainability is not consistently defined or measured. Here in Bordeaux, we have challenges linked to our high rainfall and humidity, which vineyards further south in France in drier climates or other parts of the world do not have. They may be wrestling with irrigation issues or rainfall shortages. So how you approach or even define sustainability depends on your context. Green has many hues.
As I discuss in my blog, we juggle 3 areas of sustainability to ensure we make the best possible wine while ensuring the vineyard and the community around it will flourish:
Environmental: Optimizing soil and vine health, encouraging biodiversity and balance in nature with the minimum use of anything that could be harmful, I live in my vines so I am living my commitment to vine health – quite literally;
Economic: If winemakers go out of business, then there is a ripple effect – from the barrel-makers to the chap who collects the water to purify from the winery. If we lose our crop to disease or pests, then we cannot afford to pay to plant hedgerows, trees or install water collection tanks;
Social: A vineyard is part of a community and we have a responsibility to interact, and contribute to it to ensure the longevity of what we do for future generations. I am keen to help women on their own who don’t know where to start in an adventure to take the leap into winemaking or owning a vineyard as outlined in my #winementor program. Getting proactive in the Fronsac appellation and the overall Bordeaux wine community is supporting them to be competitive with other wine regions for the future.
We have embarked on a certification which is a French national programme called Haute Valeur Environmentale (HVE) and at the first audit, it became clear that we are already at the highest level, level 3. But sustainability is not a set point that you arrive at with a badge and stand still, it is a continuum, an attitude and modus operandi which influences everything you do.
Organic has taken the lead in terms of consumer recognition while sustainability lacks clarity in people’s minds. We need to ensure the consumer understands the benefits and positives of broad and inclusive sustainability and how, if done right, it is much more beneficial to us all in the long term.
What should you do to learn about what is really in your glass? Get to know the producer – go beyond the label and talk to them about what goes on in the winery and vines. Try and understand what they are doing across the board to make wine at a vineyard that is sustainable in every way. If you would like to discuss any of this with us, please get in touch