Organized by the CIVB and the Sud Ouest and Terre de vins newspapers, the Bordeaux Vignobles Engagés trophies highlight and reward the commitment of wine professionals to the environment.
Of the 275 applications proposed, Tourteau Chollet is one of 34 properties highlighted by Sud Ouest.
Let’s discover the article in question:
« A commitment at all levels »
Among the first to have high environmental value certification, the Graves estate began its virtuous approach almost 20 years ago.
“A commitment at all levels, where every action taken end to end counts. »
This is a brief summary of the state of mind that drives Château Tourteau Chollet, nestled in Arbanats, in the Graves appellation. Let’s add one more word: pioneer. Property of the company VitisVintage, created at the end of 2000 by Maxime Bontoux, Château Tourteau Chollet is one of the first of its appellation to be certified Terra Vitis in 2005. In 2012, VitisVintage obtained for its three estates (Tourteau Chollet plus the Grand-Lartigue châteaux and Ferrand Lartigue in Saint-Emilion) the high environmental value certification (HVE). A visionary approach, in the not-so-distant time when the HVE label was still rare in Bordeaux.
“From the start,” explains Sébastien Labails, Managing Director of VitisVintage, “there has been this sincere desire to make wines that respect the environment. « Away from the departmental, the D1113 which runs along the Garonne, the area remains discreet, like its owner, but ambitious.
Bee Friendly Label
When it is taken over, the site will have its own plant for the recovery of phytosanitary effluents (equipment washing water, for example) with a capacity of 5000 hectoliters. In the 63 hectares of vines, chemical weedkillers were quickly banned. And the vineyard is seeing a proliferation of concrete actions. Like the planting of an orchard in the 2010s on a half-hectare plot left fallow. Or the use of biocontrol products, such as white clay sprayed on grape leaves to protect them from the bites of the leafhopper, a small insect with devastating effects. Or, more recently, the use of mating disruption, where small pheromone diffusers hanging in the rows replace insecticides targeting the bunch worm. So many choices that come at a cost: protection by mating confusion costs 150 to 200 euros per hectare, against 40 euros for a conventional insecticide, says the director.
At the end of 2019, Château Tourteau Chollet was awarded the Bee Friendly label, a European label which distinguishes farms that respect pollinators. “Our idea was to find out if the natural spaces around us are functioning well,” continues Sébastien Labails. For the past two years, a couple of beekeepers have been setting up some eighty beehives for two and a half months, when the chestnut trees and acacias that border the vineyard are in bloom. In May and June, the season coincides precisely with the period of treatment of the vines.
The next step ? Sébastien Labails is thinking of indicators to better control water and energy consumption, or even greater control over the absence of pesticides. “Our commitment is a daily job. There is always something to do! « Having joined the management of VitisVintage in 2018, the engineer graduated from Bordeaux Science Agro assumes his taste for research and innovation. Château Chollet could be less discreet.