What are the certifications?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 In Japan: Organic JAS 

In Japan, there is an organic JAS standard approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Once certified by this institution, you will be able to be called "organic".

 European Union: Euro Leaf 

Europe also has standards for certifying organic foods, and those who respects the rules are allowed to use the Euro Leaf logo. 
Since 2012, displaying the logo on labels became mandatory. However, the use of the logo is optional for unwrapped foods and imported products.

Cépages wineries with this certificate: Domaine de Cébène, Domaine Deneufbourg, Domaine le Roc des Anges, Domaine le Conte des Floris

 From France: ECOCERT 

Founded in 1991, ECOCERT is an international organic certification recognized by the French Ministry of Economy and the Department of Agriculture based in Toulouse (France). 
Today, there is 23 branch offices (including Japan) around the world and known in more than 80 countries. 

Also in France: AB certification

In 1981, the French government established guidelines on organic farming, and since 1985, the AB mark has been used as an organic-certified mark for organic foods that meet the standards. 
However, this AB mark can only be applied to products processed in the EU and those that have cleared the strict examination of ECOCERT.

Cépages wineries with this certificate: Domaine Combel La Serre, Domaine Alain Chabanon, Domaine Berthollier, La Nouvelle Donne, Domaine des Soulanes, Domaine les Ondines, Domaine Saint Damien

 From Germany: Demeter 

Demeter is Germany's oldest private certification organization. The standards are extremely strict, and only organic foods/grapes made by a method called biodynamic agriculture can be certified as Demeter. Recognized wine labels can be marked with the Demeter certification mark.

There are three methods for farming grapes used for organic wine. We will explain each of them, but first you need to know that there are stricter rules for biologic than for lutte raisonnée, and for biodynamics than for biologic farming. All of these are farming methods using less chemical substances and are cultivated to be as closed to nature as possible, but there are differences in the rules.

  1.  Lutte raisonnée farming method : The lute raisonnée farming method, which is also called pesticide-reducing farming method, does not mean that chemical fertilizers are not completely used. Basically, it is cultivated without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides, but when the need arises, their use is permitted in very small amounts. Since there is no clear definition and no certified organization to rule it, we have to trust the winemakers when it comes to the quantity of pesticides used. Even if you want to be organic, you may have to use pesticides from year to year in difficult environments caused by the weather. 
  2.  Biologic farming: Biologic farming is also known as organic farming. Unlike the lutte raisonnée farming method, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc. cannot be used, so animal waste are used as fertilizer instead. 
    However, Bordeaux mixture, a traditional pesticide for disease prevention, can be used as an exception. Harvesting has to be done by hand; no machines are allowed.
  3. Biodynamic farming : Biodynamic farming is basically the same as biologic farming. The difference is in the farming method: they use the power of celestial bodies and the universe. This farming method is based on the theory advocated by an Australian philosopher named Rudolf Steiner. 
    Specifically, the movement of the moon and constellations determines the date for homemade fertilizer application (there is 2 recipes to follow) and grape harvesting. 
    This biodynamic farming method is used in one of the most famous burgundy: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.    

Cépages wineries with this certificate: Domaines Goisot, Domaine Olivier Pithon, Mas d'Espanet, Domaine de l'Oustal Blanc, Domaine Danjou Banessy, Domaine le Soula, Domaine Tribouley, Château Couronneau

 HVE (High Environmental Value certification) 

HVE certification (meaning "high environmental value") is given to farmers / vine growers who choose to take the right approach, from growing grapes to bottling. 
Farmers must comply to the next 4 categories: environment authentication, biodiversity conservation, plant protection strategy, fertilizer management, water resources measure.

There are 3 levels of HVE certification:  

Level 1 _ Understanding the status quo – It means that the vine grower has a basic knowledge of “sustainable” cultivation. It also includes the specifications of levels 2 and 3.

Level 2 _ Comply with specified items – Comply with 16 standards in the 4 categories named above. 

Level 3 _ Achieve defined indicators –Is based on results indicators relating to biodiversity, phytosanitary strategy, fertilization, and irrigation management.

* Level 2 and Level 3 are certified by the French Ministry of Agriculture. Once the famer got cleared for those 4 categories, the HVE logo can be used. HVE (Environmental Value-oriented Certification) is a certification for all agricultural fields, and currently about 80% is applied to viticulture. As of July 2020, Gironde Province, where Bordeaux is located, is the top with 1,610 out of 8,218 registered wineries. 

Cépages wineries with this certificate: Château de la Font du Loup, Château de Plaisance, Domaine Schoenheitz

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