Consumers are increasingly looking for eco-labels in the interest of preserving the environment, respecting the product and guaranteeing quality for the consumer. At the same time, winemaking properties are increasingly turning towards an "organic" or responsible approach, certified or not.
The AOC and AOP
The AOC french label (“Origine d’Appellation Contrôlée” means Controlled Indication of Origin)
Created in 1935, this label certifies the exact origin on the French territory of a product (especially wine) and guarantees a certain know-how and a certain quality.
The specifications varies according to the products but they must all be authentic, specific for a terroir and a know-how.
The AOP french label and his equivalent in english : the PDO label (“Protected Designation of Origin”)
Established in 1992, this label is the equivalent of the AOC label but European and therefore ensures that products (including wine) come from the same geographical area.
The products are protected in all countries of the European Union.
The PDO can only be issued if the product has already received the AOC label, implying double control.
The labels “Organic Farming”
The French Label “AB” means Organic Farming (at the national level)
This label was created in 1985 and guarantees that the product comes from organic farming applied in France.
It concerns only the production stage and certifies 100% organic products or containing at least 95% of organic agricultural products in the case of processed products.
It prohibits, among other things, the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
It also meets the specifications of the organic farming label at European level.
At least once a year, a control must be carried out.
Organic Farming Label (at the European level, certified Ecocert)
This label guarantees that food products and services come from organic farming on the territory of the European Union.
The label guarantees the same quality of commitment as the national label but covers all stages of wine, from the vine to bottling.
Since 2009, it can be listed next to the national AB label.
Must be mentioned beside this logo :
- The place of production of agricultural raw materials (EU or non-EU agriculture)
- The certifying number of the organisation
The Environmental Management System approach by the CIVB or Bordeaux Wine Council
The Bordeaux Wine Council, an organization created in 1948, also has developed, more than 4 years ago, an approach named SME (in French) : Environmental Management System.
It is aimed at all operators in the world of wine (winegrowers, wine cellars, cooperatives or wine merchants...), no matter what the size of the company and no matter if they are organic or not.
The aim of this approach is to improve the environmental respect of businesses by estimating their impact on the environment and by setting them objectives to reduce, little by little, their impacts on nature.
Some 20 protagonists act in the Gironde in order to advise companies and accompany them in the environmental dimension on the long term. There are currently more than 350 Bordeaux vine cultivations that have adopted this approach.
The label "Terra Vitis"
This label was created 15 years ago by winegrowers to guarantee consumers a reasoned viticulture as well as authentic and quality wines.
Its two main goals are therefore :
- the preservation of the wine-growing heritage
- the answer to consumer expectations.
The whole wine production cycle is checked every year for the members of the brand who are subsequently authorized to use the mark on their bottles.
Today, this label includes more than 500 members and six local associations (Terra Vitis Bordeaux, Terra Vitis Loire, Terra Vitis Rhône-Méditerranée, Terra Vitis Alsace, Terra Vitis Champenois Vineyards and Terra Vitis Beaujolais).
The Biodynamic Agriculture labels
The French Label “Biodyvin”
This label created in 1995 by a small group of winegrowers advocate the bio dynamism of viticulture.
It means that the land must not only be exploited to produce (grapes or other products) but must also be considered as a living matter, which needs to feed on various elements. For example, by adding composts to the vines.
To obtain this label, you must be “AB” certified.
The Demeter label
The specifications of this biodynamic label allows less additions in vinification.
Two subdivisions exist:
- Demeter wine : the grapes are Demeter certified and the vinification respect the Demeter specifications, which is very restrictive as regards the additions.
- Wine from Demeter grapes : the grapes are also guaranteed Demeter but the vinification is conforms to the European organic specifications.
The natural wines
In recent years, another category of wines has emerged, produced by winemakers concerned with respect of the environment and the high quality of their products.
These are natural wines. These are wines without any addition, except in certain cases where the addition of sulfur is necessary and therefore tolerated. At the moment there is no label for these wines but associations such as the Association of Natural Wines commit to respect a specific charter.
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