Champagne producers want to become carbon neutral by 2050 and abandon the use of herbicides by 2025. This was announced by the two co-chairs of the Comité Champagne - Maxime Toubart and David Chatillon - at the general assembly of the Association Viticole Champenoise (AVC).
The meeting was preceded by a heated discussion that culminated in an open letter by 125 vintners in the daily newspaper Le Monde. This called on Maxime Toubart to stick to the goal of no herbicides by 2025, which he did not include in the AOC Champagne's specifications despite a clear decision in 2018. Toubart replied at the meeting that the renunciation should be a strong goal "but not an obligation", as it would cause difficulties for some farms and mean their exclusion from the appellation: "Taking into account technical, human and financial constraints, it is not always possible to renounce herbicides as quickly as one would like. Including a new obligation in the specifications means making it obligatory for 100 per cent of winegrowers. And this is where our debate lies".
At the same time, Toubart announced a goal for the Champagne sector to become carbon neutral by 2050. Emissions are to be reduced by 75 % between 2003 and 2050 and the rest offset by carbon credits. To achieve this, the Comité Champagne is launching initiatives to reduce energy demand and recalls the importance of hedge planting for carbon storage. One kilometre of hedge can store between three and five tonnes of CO2. Between 2003 and 2018, Champagne's carbon footprint fell by 15 per cent, according to Comité Champagne.
(al / source: vitisphere; photo: 123rf)