Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Page 14 News List

French vineyards turn ‘green’ with genetics, robots

By Suzanne Mustacich  /  AFP, BORDEAUX, France

“Green” pioneers are lobbying French wine’s governing bodies to take their concerns on board.

“In France today, our bedrock is the Appellation of Origin,” said Christophe Riou, the institute’s scientific and development director. “We need to integrate environmental questions into the appellation.”

Currently, an Appellation of Origin certification denotes quality based on location, grape varieties, viticulture and winemaking methods.

Some regions like Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy have forged ahead, using carbon footprint studies to measure and reduce their impact.

However, that is not enough for Riou, who would like a nationwide study on the broader impact of the sector, looking beyond the carbon footprint.

For instance, a glass of French wine takes about 90 liters of water to produce, the Netherlands-based Water Footprint Network said.

“There is the water footprint, carbon footprint and the impact on biodiversity,” Riou said. “Today, we are working on this life cycle. You have to integrate all three.”

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