Wednesday, 25 February 2015

5 French Wine Production Styles at a Glance - Understanding the Logos

Confused with all the logos you find on French wine bottles? 
Not sure what type of French wine you are drinking? 
Here is a quick guide to exactly what is going on in the vineyards and 
therefore in the bottle. 

1. Organic - "Les Purs Biologiques"
Winegrowers that don't use either pesticides or herbicides. 
They only have a access to elements made available by nature e.g. Copper 
and Sulphur and the only treatments allowed are those that are washed 
away by the rain and do not penetrate into the plant. 
Wines are allowed to show the logo AB Agriculture Biologique.
AB Agriculture Biologique
2. Biodynamic - "Les Biodynamisyes"
These wine producers are considered the most radical fringe group of the 
organic producers. They refuse to use pesticides and weed killers.
They follow the norms of the organic producers imposed by the label AB 
Agriculture Biologique but also want to revert to typical soils of
animal material and plant matter.
There are two main labels indicating Biodynamic Wine those of Demeter 
and Biodyvin.
3. Natural Wines - Les Natures
This group of producers are different to the pure organic and biodynamic 
producers and are hostile to anything added to the wine during the process 
of the wine making. They are strongly opposed to the use of sulphur in the 
winery. Sulphites are reputed to act as anti-bacterial and are there good for 
conservation of wine. For the Naturalist the taste of the pure grape is all 
that is important. Nothing added and nothing taken away. Currently no label 
for "Natural Wines" but there is an Association des Vins Naturels.
Association des Vins Naturels AVN
4. Reasonable Culture - Les Raisonnés
Durable viticulture with the objective to limit the number of chemical 
treatments, reduce the amount of pesticides and weed killers and other...
...both in the vineyard and the winery. Some of these producers move to 
organic production as a next step.
Les Raisonnés - Reasonable Culture
5. The Conventionals - Les Conventionnels 
Or as I have often heard other producers describe them "Les Chimiques" 
(The Chemicals) 
75% of winegrowers in France are still conventional. They treat their vines 
with chemicals, pesticides and weed killers.