Winegrowing practices

A specific terroir, innovative and age-old practices

3 questions to Frédéric Berne, President of the Vignerons et Terroirs de Lantignié association

The association is built around the notion of agro-ecology. How would you define this term?

The concept of agroecology has three dimensions: ecological, economic and social. These are also the three pillars of sustainable development. In practical terms, this means developing environmentally-friendly practices such as banning the use of synthetic pesticides, using horse-drawn ploughing, using natural products (nettle macerations, comfrey, Bordeaux mixture)… It also means encouraging high-performance practices such as the joint purchase of seeds, trees and viticultural equipment, or the restructuring of vines using ergonomic management methods. In vineyards where the vines grow high, the work is less arduous and quicker, and therefore more profitable from an economic point of view, with no negative impact on quality compared with traditional low-growing vines. From a social point of view, the idea is to support young people setting up in business, to communicate together about our terroirs and our practices, to help each other in the event of a setback for one of us… all in the interests of sustainable and fair farming.

Global warming is already a reality for winegrowers, and it will be even more so in the years and decades to come. What agronomic practices can help us adapt?

In agro-ecology, trees are planted in the middle of the vines, and vegetation covers made up of a variety of complementary plants are introduced in the rows of vines, all of which act as a sort of climate damper. This helps to fix the soil and thus reduce erosion, store carbon and, as a result, better retain in the soil what plants need to live and develop: water and nutrients. The aim of these practices is to recreate fertility in an increasingly hot and dry climate and to make our vineyards sustainable.

Is it conceivable that Lantignié could become an 11th cru in the Beaujolais, with specifications focusing on the specific characteristics of the terroir and the originality of the village’s wines, but also on a more ambitious agronomic approach?

The association brings together around twenty estates around a two-fold challenge. The first is quality, with demanding work to reflect the best expression of our Lantignié terroirs! The second is linked to the notions of the environment and fairness. With our project, a new way of approaching the notion of an appellation is emerging. We are proposing a different approach that we believe is at the heart of current social concerns. Only time will tell if we are right or wrong.