Since the recent granting of our HVE label in Spring of 2019, we have been asked a lot of questions about it, as it is easily understandable to get lost in the jungle of all the new labels rewarding environmental commitment today.

Although environmental commitments are often viewed as simple marketing tactics, it is important to remind people that it is more often a true and sincere commitment that can also have the downside of leading to a real production risk for the winemaker.

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions so you can understand the true meaning of our engagement and know what garanties it gives in regards to our production and products.

FAQ about HVE !

What are the differences between the HVE and AB label?

First of all, the AB label certifies the product, whereas the HVE certifies the whole vineyard, from the fields to the cellar. Secondly, despite the fact that the specifications of the AB label are more precise, they don’t include any requirement in terms of results. The HVE requires an inspection of the vineyard every 3 years to ensure that the results have been reached in terms of biodiversity and the health of the soil. The HVE then warrants the merit to justify that there are real benefits of the actions taken by the winemaker.

For exemple, the AB label forbid the use of certain plant protection products. The HVE allowed the usage of a reasonable amount of that product, but it must be justified, strictly regulated and controlled. This control includes the analysis of a cultivation report and a visit in the vineyard to see the continued presence of a rich biodiversity.

Why did we chose the HVE rather than the AB label?

HVE is the most appropriate label for the vineyards in which the topography make the mechanization of work impossible, like Côte Rôtie and Condrieu. The steep slopes and tiny terrasses in the Northern Rhône create many technical constraints, including making use of tractors impossible. Every task has to be done by hand by our team. It is also the best choice in regions where genuine efforts are being made to protect biodiversity.

A difficulty arises during the Spring when the accelerating vegetation growth would require us to quadruple our workforce, something we just cannot afford to. We therefore have used for some years now a cultivating technique with sedum. This succulent plant does not compete with vine and it increases the permeability of the soil, stimulating a deep implanting of the vine’s roots and reduces erosion risks. Using this method is however a long and complex process. 300g are needed by meter square: 30 tonne in total. The expansion of our cultivation techniques are thus still ongoing and we still need to use product for plant protection in a few of our parcels. This product named « belhouka » is naturally manufactured from plants.

Why do we have to weed?

Most of the weeds are competing with vines. In other words, they steal the nutrients in the soil from from the roots of the vines, directly affecting the quality of the grapes. These weeds can also be source of disease, another reason why it’s better not to let them spread in the vineyard.

And how does it affect winemaking and aging?

The HVE label does not include any requirements in regard to the winemaking and aging process, unlike the regulation of the AB certification. Note, however, that during our winemaking and aging we continue to fully respect the specifications of the AB label. For exemple, in our white wine we only add a maximum of 80 mg/L of sulfites of the fixed limit of 150 mg/l, and in our red wine only 60 mg/L of the limit of 100 mg/L.