When it comes to sustainable viticulture, a more hands-off approach can work wonders.
Maison Martell is set to find out. In the Charente region of France, home to the famous vines of the Cognac region, the famous grande cognac house is trialling a regenerative agriculture program that promises to create greater crop resilience with lower environmental impact.
Launched in 2021, the sustainable viticulture approach is being tested on Domaines Jean Martell’s three estates, focusing on the key areas of soil life, vine nutrition and health, and the environment and landscape biodiversity.
The program touches all corners of the estate, with Maison Martell analysing about 15 soil profiles to study their microbiology. Martell has also seeded a variety of plant cover, from perennial plants such as clover, to protein crops and grasses. The results will be closely studied, including any impacts on the wines produced.
At the same time, Martell is turning to robot technology for a helping hand. In recent months, a self-propelled weeding machine known as Bakus has been deployed to do some of the dirtier work of growing grapes.
These 2021 initiatives are but the latest in the House’s long-standing approach to sustainable viticulture.
Since 2016, all 450 hectares of Domaines Jean Martell have been free of carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins (CMR) products and endocrine disruptors.
These efforts contributed towards 100 percent of Martell’s vineyards receiving dual certification for Sustainable Viticulture and High Environmental Value in 2018, with Martell adopting a zero herbicide commitment the following year.
Martell’s sustainability initiatives extend beyond the land itself, engaging local winegrowers through education and training on sustainable best practices. The purpose is to share lessons, experience and expertise in sustainable viticulture.
The House also places a premium on the purchase of wines and eaux-de-vie produced by partner winegrowers that have obtained the Cognac Environmental Certification.
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