Wine | The consumption and cultivation of wine are now being shaken by revolutionary phenomena, says Gérard Bertrand

Wine production is at a huge turning point in terms of both cultivation and consumption, says one of the world’s leading producers of organic and biodynamic wines in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat.

Verargues, 46 degrees. Gallargues-le-Montueux, 45.9 degrees Celsius. For Villevieille, 45.1 degrees. These are the heat records set in France in recent years.

High temperatures are not good for wine production.

“Up to 35 degrees, the vineyards are fine, but when you reach 40 degrees, problems start to appear,” says a French wine grower Gérard Bertrand In an interview with HS.

Bertrand is one of the world’s leading producers of organic and biodynamic wines.

Temperature change taste of grapes and bring pests to new areas. In addition, extreme weather events destroy crops and with the drought there may not be enough irrigation water for wine growing.

“Simply reducing the carbon footprint is not enough.”

Wine world has become aware of the problems and risks caused by climate change.

Nowadays, for example, manufacturers pay attention to packaging materials, because packaging causes a significant share of wine’s carbon footprint. However, that alone is not enough, says Bertrand.

“It’s important to move forward and not get stuck on the weight of the wine bottle, although thinking about it is a good start. Simply reducing the carbon footprint is not enough. The next significant step in viticulture is sequestering carbon in the soil.”

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Last In recent years, organic and biodynamic wine cultivation have become popular, which Bertrand considers a solution to many problems. Bertrand started practicing biodynamic farming on his farms in 2002.

When Bertrand switched to using natural farming methods and fertilizers, the difference began to be seen in a few years, according to him: the condition of the soil improved, the roots of the plants grew deeper and the vines developed better resistance to diseases and pests than before. It is possible depending on the cultivation method.

Organic farming, like biodynamic farming, does not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Biodynamic farming takes a step further than organic farming, as it uses homeopathic extracts and follows nature’s own rhythms.

Bertrand believes that the wine industry can serve as an example for the rest of agriculture.

Like the current one farming with chemical fertilizers and pesticides is a relatively new phenomenon if you look at the millennia-long history of viticulture.

Before the world wars in France, viticulture was manual work. At that time there were 35,000 tractors in France, he writes The Guardian. A couple of decades later, there were already more than a million tractors, and at the same time, pesticides were flowing into the country from the United States. The wineries were also modernized and production increased.

With climate change, consumers and winemakers are more interested in organic farming than before, says Bertrand.

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Now there may be a return to the past. Bertrand believes that the revolution is possible because organic farming methods are familiar from the past.

Wine along with climate change, the decline in popularity is another significant thing that affects the industry.

A pair of words Sober curious has flashed repeatedly in the media in recent years. Sober curious means an interest in sober living.

“People drink less, but better.”

Many young people have reduced their alcohol consumption, and wines in particular have been left out. For popularity instead of wine have risen low-sugar, low-alcohol and low-calorie drinks. During the corona pandemic, many US restaurants had to sell his wine cellarbecause there was simply no demand for wines.

Bertrand the decline in wine’s popularity is not scary. He even thinks it’s welcome.

“People drink less, but better. This is an encouraging message for quality wines and their producers.”

Decades of wine processing, such as the removal of alcohol from the finished wine, has made it possible to produce wine of consistent quality and, with it, lower prices. It has contributed to the democratization of wine consumption.

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In addition the industry has to adapt to current trends, says Bertrand. You also need to know how to react to the growing trend of vegetarianism.

Bertrand’s selection includes vegan wines and the cultivation is said to be bee-friendly. Still, many of the company’s wines are recommended to drink with various meat and fish dishes.

“I think it’s interesting to combine wines with vegetables. For example, broccoli goes well with dry Muscat and carrot and turnip with rosé wine.”

Although interest in wine has decreased and drought and storms threaten grain crops in addition to viticulture, Bertrand considers wine to be an important cultural product.

“When you drink wine, you don’t drink just any drink. Then closely-kept secrets become a plot. In addition, wine brings people together.”

Up to 35 degrees, the vineyards are fine, but when you reach 40 degrees, problems start to appear, says Gérard Bertrand.

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