RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Old world wines embrace new farming ideals

For the first time an ‘old world’ wine region has launched a plan to embrace the new farming techniques collectively known as ‘biodiversity’

Announced today (May19) The French Burgundy Wine Board (BIVB) and the technical wine-growing association of Burgundy (ATVB) has joined forces to bring together around 50 Burgundy wine estates to embrace biodiversity on a large scale for the first time.

Faced with an uncertain future, threatened with climate change and environmental turmoil, the coming together of these partners is essential to maintain the viability of Burgundy’s unique terroir for future generations.
What is Biodiversity?

• Biodiversity (short for biological diversity) as defined by the Natural History Museum in London is “the variability of all living organisms -- including animal and plant species -- of the genes of all these organisms, and of the terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems of which they are part.”

• The importance of biodiversity in wine is critical for ensuring the preservation of the many diverse grape varieties which have evolved in Burgundy over the centuries to make the wines so unique.

The Burgundy Wine Board (BIVB) wants to collect and preserve 100 to 200 grape lines to ensure that the region continues to produce great wines for many centuries to come.

The Regional Centre for Innovation and “Agri-environment” Technology Transfer (CRITT) has launched a genetic characterization project to evaluate the overall biodiversity in the region, manage collection of seedlings and facilitate the selection of seedlings available to wine-growers. This means that it will be possible to characterize the different clones and safeguard several lines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir so that in the future we will be able to use this reserve of seedlings to find specimens which are best suited to the new climatic conditions without giving up the unique characteristics of Burgundy grapes.

Over the next 10 years the partnership will be carrying out an intensive program to set up the partnership. It will broadly work as follows:

• Years one to four: examining and selecting different Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligoté and Gamay vine seedlings to be cloned.

• Years five to six: pre-multiplication on the plots and in greenhouses - this is when the seedlings will be cloned and propagated.

• Years seven to nine: seedlings will go through multiplication on the plots - this is process of planting the baby vines outdoors in the nursery vineyards.

• Years ten and onwards: grafting phase in the nursery will take place alongside the on-going storage of vines. 2,000 to 3,000 different clones will be conserved, in greenhouses and on the plots. It will be a real library of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones that exist in Burgundy.

More information is available on

1 May 2009 - Felicity Murray