Regenerative Wine

Regenerative farming is a topic that’s becoming more and more interesting to me the more I read about it. Not only because I’ve chosen Nestlé for my on-going project (quite similar to the Danone case study for much of its operations) but also in my personal life, living near my French in-laws who are winegrowers or make goat’s cheese – along with other friends who work in the diverse agriculture sector. 

One comment that came up from a friend who manages 50-hectares of organic vineyards is that a lot of winegrowers are ‘converting’ to the HVE standard (haute valeur environnementale / high environmental value) and this is endorsed by the French government with subsidies given to growers who are accredited. In practice however, accreditation often requires basically no changes to agricultural practices of the growers who use plenty of pesticides and polluting machines (which they renew far too often…) etc. 

Organic-accredited farmers on the other hand have stringent requirements to be certified which actually do create constraints on their growing practices & potential yields, and with a positive impact for the earth… but since the government doesn’t endorse them appropriately they are often discredited by the general population as untrustworthy, inefficient, and generally not worth paying a premium for. This is a good example of where policymakers could better align the incentives vis-à-vis the environment.

Oscar Lampe, Concise Switzerland