March Edition: Beyond Organics 2021 | Cedric Moussé Terre d'Illite 2015 & Drappier Clarevallis


Posted by Kyri Christodoulou•

This month we discuss producers who are practising and producing champagne made using mainly organic methods and also push past this and look at what other ideas are being implemented in the winery and vineyard in this month’s theme – ‘Beyond Organics’  
 
To refresh your knowledge, ‘Organics’ is the absence of use of pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers as well as using healthy viticulture practices which are, planting grasses and other plants between rows to absorb heavy rainfall and offset disease like botrytis and ploughing the soil to aerate it and provide better drainage overall. This organic approach results in a lower yield and higher quality of the grapes. From a winemaking point of view although not specifically related to organics, this is using wild yeasts where possible and organic sugar in the dosage.
 
In fact, it is not only the smaller producers that we feature this month but also the larger houses that are moving into organic, biodynamic and sustainable forms of viticulture to preserve and strengthen the vineyards of all the growers they work with. Currently about 20% of Champagne’s vineyards are certified with HVE[1], VDC[2], Organic or other natural status according to the Comite Champagne with a move to have 100% of vineyards sustainable by 2030.
 
What we want to express in this edition is that our chosen producers Champagne Moussé et Fils and Drappier are working towards incorporating not just an ‘organic approach’ to their wines, but they have adopted sustainable practices in their winery in the form of geothermal energy to heat water and photo-voltaic panels to generate electricity. They are using labels that are made using recycled grape pulp and vegetable ink. They are also reducing their carbon footprint for them and for you by using special glass that weighs 20% less than a standard bottle and they are looking at ways of reducing their waste, recycling organic material and utilising less energy where possible. Drappier is the first champagne house that is carbon neutral.
 
In short, the landscape, health and direction of Champagne has changed immensely in the last ten years and for the better. Many houses including the larger ones are making this concerted effort to have better overall quality in their end product but at a quantitative cost. If the region collectively manages to maintain this natural and more conscientious approach, the quality will improve greatly over the next 10-20 years, echoing the golden era of champagne (1945-1970) where everyone was effectively organic or biodynamic due to the farming in effect. We will all be celebrating better bubbles in the future.
 
Enjoy the episode and as always, we would appreciate your input and thoughts.

Please enjoy the episode and stick around for the bloopers!
 
Warmest regards,
 
Kyla, Kyri, Maud, Kimberly, Matthew and Nathan


[1] Haute Valeur Environmentalle (High Environmental Impact) | Minimum use of fungicide and pesticides and eradicating the use of herbicides with a focus on encouraging biodiversity and sexual confusion to insects
[2] Viticulture Durable en Champagne | Similar to HVE certificatione and requires a minimum standard in chemical inputs and biodiversity, overall, less rigorous than organics. Eradication of herbicides is widely agreed to be the most important first step in vineyard improvement, yet VDC still permits full use of herbicides on up to half of the vineyard area