French vineyards in the Rhône Valley shine in their sustainability efforts until the 2022 harvest

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Innovative initiatives tackle climate change and work to advance sustainability in the region

New York, NY, July 28, 2022 – Inter Rhône, the representative association of the AOC Vignobles of the Rhône Valley, is happy to share the news of a new vision of sustainable development, as well as a set of commitments with evaluation tools put in place by the AOC Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages, as the region looks to the next harvest season 2022.

Faced with current challenges (climatic, environmental, societal), the AOC Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages unveil a series of four commitments for the future to ensure the sustainability of this dynamic and responsible vineyard, already 2000 years old.

The four commitments respond to future macroeconomic challenges and officially codify the practices implemented by many appellation winegrowers in recent years. These will allow the appellation to communicate on the work that is done in the vineyard and in the cellars, both with the sector and with all the winegrowers of Inter Rhône, in order to promote their dissemination throughout. of the territory. The vision for the new sustainability commitments will include the following thematic pillars:

1. Ensure transparent practices

The AOC Côtes du Rhône is governed by specifications established by the decree of November 19, 1937. The appellation was one of the first AOCs created in France, and guaranteeing the quality and origin of its wines is great importance for both wineries. , estates and traders selling worldwide.

For the sake of transparency, the AOC Côtes du Rhône will see the implementation of a guarantee stamp intended to ensure the traceability of the wine from the grape to the bottle. It will guarantee the quality of the product, fight against counterfeiting and theft of identity and origin. Each stamp will be unique and will authenticate each bottle. Featuring tear-proof and tamper-proof technology, the new warranty stamp will provide consumers with the confidence to select Côtes du Rhône wines wherever new vintages can be purchased.

2. Protect biodiversity

The Côtes du Rhône vineyard is among the world leaders in biodiversity, and it is Inter Rhône’s mission to ensure the natural well-being of the region for future generations. The commitment is based on the “Landscape Environment Charter” of the Côtes du Rhône, widely deployed and launched in 2014 in AOC Côtes du Rhône, which describes a set of good practices based on the voluntary commitment of winegrowers to improve their way of work. their vineyards using sustainable cultivation practices. It is part of a global approach aimed at further enriching the natural and built heritage of the appellation.

Another founding guide for winegrowers, the Strategic Environmental Action Plan AOC Côtes du Rhône, which has enacted agreements with the French Observatory of Apidology, the Regional League for the Protection of Birds, the Ornithological Center of Gard, the Naturoptère of Sarrians, and many winegrowers, chambers of agriculture, wine experts, defense and management organizations to preserve biodiversity.

3. Respect the terroirs and preserve resources

The AOC Côtes du Rhône estates, cellars and traders take the environmental challenges they face today very seriously, particularly with regard to their viticultural practices and their efforts to reduce waste.

Faced with the growing number of environmental certifications accessible to many small and medium-sized winegrowers and producers, the AOC Côtes du Rhône is currently working on a guide of environmental recommendations. Currently being developed, this guide will contain a set of recommendations intended to promote organic farming and to encourage and support the development of farming practices.

To date, at least a third of the AOC Côtes du Rhône wine-growing area can claim at least one or more organic or eco-responsible certifications such as: HVE (High Environmental Value), Terra Vitis and Vignerons Engagés. There is also a sharp increase in the share of organic vineyards throughout the AOC Côtes du Rhône: In 2021, 12% of the harvest will be certified organic, which represents 13% of the vineyard (8,600 hectares). The current trend is for a strong increase in the number of companies converting to organic viticulture (+65% over 4 years), but also for the expectation of a strong increase in the certified viticultural area for the next 2 to 3 years (the area currently ‘in conversion’ represents 50% of the area already certified). The significant increase in the number of Côtes du Rhône wineries and estates converting to organic farming and the strong proliferation of HVE certifications testify to this long-term commitment to preservation.

4. Pass on a legacy

Inter Rhône and its AOC Côtes du Rhône are determined to protect the vineyards of appellations for future generations and to communicate and transmit the richness of their heritage to the widest public. Using the “Environmental Landscape Charter” of the Côtes du Rhône as a quality architecture for the preservation of the 16 landscape entities of the Côtes du Rhône, the vineyard and its local heritage, the mission is committed to preserving and enhancing the terroirs, the local traditions and skills. of its inhabitants, as well as the products derived from them.

The Institut Rhodanien, headquarters of all Research & Development in the Rhône Valley, has drawn up a new roadmap which also aims to encourage producers to ensure the sustainability of the Côtes du Rhône vineyard and more generally of the vineyards of the Vallée of the Rhone. Its vocation is to build the future of the AOC du Rhône on technical bases.

According to Philippe Pellaton, president of the Institut Rhodanien, “societal expectations with regard to environmental issues in vineyards, the need to promote low-residue wines, the work of continuously adapting our red wines to the requirements of the market and the clear definition of the profiles of white and rosé wines are all areas that urgently need to be tackled and in which we must support our producers.

In addition to the four new sustainability commitments, Inter Rhône is also working on a number of strategic objectives in 2022, including the launch of the process towards sustainability certification (following the guidelines of the international standard ISO 26000). The organization is strongly committed to its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with a labeling and certification process currently being implemented. With a certified quality policy in place since 2018, Inter Rhône began the process in January 2021 to obtain the CSR label with the mission of perpetuating the AOCs of the Rhône Valley, both environmentally and socially, around three concrete and measured actions around the following pillars: 1) people at the heart of governance, 2) enhancement and promotion of AOCs in France and for export and 3) an organization that counts.

About Inter Rhone

Inter Rhône is a dynamic and strongly committed professional association representing all the players in the AOC Côtes du Rhône and Vallée du Rhône wine sector. Created in 1955, it coordinates the marketing and communication, commercial and technical activities of the following AOCs: Côtes du Rhône (Regionals, Villages and Crus), Clairette de Bellegarde, Clairette de Die, Châtillon en Diois, Costières de Nîmes, Côtes du Vivarais, Coteaux de Die, Crémant de Die, Duchy of Uzès, Grignan les Adhémar, Luberon, Ventoux, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and Rasteau sweet sweet wines, Wine Brandies from the Côtes du Rhône (or Fine from the Côtes du Rhône) and Marc des Côtes du Rhône Eaux de Vie (or Marc des Côtes du Rhône). Its activity is based on three key principles: fair representation of all professional groups; parity between producers and traders; and unanimity for all important decisions. Creative and responsible, Inter Rhône is at the side of its members, supporting them and assisting them in their quest for greater recognition of the wines of the Rhône Valley vineyards in France and abroad.

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