How to revive a heritage in decline and make it a business success.
Does a mention of Bordeaux make you think of a glass of red? Yldau and Fabian got to enjoy it as they investigated the future challenges of wine-making.
Viticulture was introduced to Bordeaux thousands of years ago by the ancient Romans and proved a great hit: the climate and soil were both ideal for growing grapes. Today the region is the largest wine growing area in France: its 120 000 hectares of vineyards produce 800 million bottles of wine per year!
But times are changing also in the wine business. There are the impacts of climate change but there is also a change in mentality, with consumers paying increasingly more attention to the labels “organic” or “natural”. More and more people are asking for a product that tastes as great as ever but contains fewer additives like sulphites and is produced by a business that is socially responsible and protects the environment by using fewer pesticides. Offering a quality wine that ticks all these boxes is not so simple.
Funded by the EU’s Sudoe Programme, which supports wine and vineyard businesses in the Southwest European region, the VINOVERT project is specifically aimed at this trend in consumer demand, not least so that the wine businesses of the region can stay competitive in the long term.
Run by the University of Bordeaux’ Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV), the biggest wine research lab in Europe, Vinovert brings together research teams with expertise in economics, sociology, oenology and agronomy to study the complete process from vine to glass. The goal is to find the ideal wine and the ideal production method: one that satisfies the new consumer demands without increasing the costs to such a degree that the final product becomes too expensive.
Having assisted in the lab, Yldau and Fabian were shown around Vinovert’s experimental vineyard by oenologist Marc and got to try some of their “greenest” wines: they met with their full approval.