During the 47th annual Congress of Winemakers of France that took place in June, two large groups of winemakers wished to formalize with the Ministry for Agriculture and Food, in presence of the Minister Didier Guillaume, their commitment to encourage all winemakers to be more respectful of the environment.
This is the mark of a full consideration by actors of current societal and environmental issues: support, develop, evaluate, but also encourage among their clients, steps allowing for better production that respects natural balances and assures economic success of farmers and businesses.
In 2018, the consumption of organic wine in France increased by 18% in volume and 23% in value compared to 2017. More generally, citizens and consumers expect their agricultural and food systems to be more respectful of the environment, for instance the demand to reduce the use phytosanitary products.
Ten percent of French territory devoted to winemaking is today grown using organic agriculture, and organic wines represent 8.3% of sales, compared to 3.8% in 2017.
In parallel, the High Environmental Value public label (recognizing the high environmental quality of the agricultural practices enforced in the certified farm) is becoming more accessible to consumers. Its presence on a product attests to environmental excellence through meeting performance goals in four areas:
- Biodiversity (notably through the presence of agro-ecological infrastructure on the farm such as hedges, grass strips, groves, etc.)
- Phytosanitary management
- Fertilization management
- Water resource management
Winemaking is already significantly present in this process, but the goal must be to greatly increase its strength, particularly through the involvement of cooperative winemakers.
In the future, in order to produce products bearing quality signs, businesses will need to be able to show guarantees that they use environmentally respectful practices. Cooperative today product more than two thirds of products benefiting from protected geographic indications (PGI) in wine. It is thus necessary to harmonize the ambitious policies led by the cooperatives and those pursued in PGI regulations.
Environmental and climate issues will be at the heart of the new Common Agricultural Policy, offering opportunities and the means to producers to improve the environmental performance of their farms.