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Biodiversity in the vineyard: Our 2-minute read

There’s always more to be done to improve biodiversity. But when it come to champagnes, wines and spirits, our parent company Moët Hennessy is making great strides. From bird houses in the vineyards to hedge planting and restoring oyster reefs, enjoy a whistlestop tour of our world.

We’re all well aware that the world needs more biodiversity – that delicate balance between nature in all its forms. The good news is that protecting and stimulating biodversity goes hand in hand with preserving our Houses’ exceptional terroirs (after all, we need to nurture the lands which nurture our vines). That means your favourite champagnes, wines and spirits are fully invested in the future of the planet, with our parent company Moët Hennessy challenging the industry to raise the bar. Here’s how our Houses are playing their part in increasing biodiversity around the globe.

Champagne leads the way

Visit one of our vineyards in Champagne and chances are, you’ll find grass growing between the vines. It may look beautifully rustic, but more importantly, cover crops help prevent soil eroision and improve the ecosystem in many ways. At Moët & Chandon and Ruinart, winemakers are planting more hedges around their vineyards. These natural barriers will not only serve as habitats for birds and animals, but give the vines protection from the weather. What is more, there are 60 hectares of land in Champagne which Moët Hennessy leaves deliberately fallow each year. This allows plant species which are great for biodiversity and loved by bees to grow freely, giving the ecosystem in the soil time to regenerate. It’s a similar story in Cognac. At Hennessy, 10 hectares of vineyards are left fallow each year, while 60% are seeded with grass.

Keeping it natural

Other Houses around the world are playing their part too. On Moët Hennessy’s Argentinian wine estates, you’ll now find birds nesting in huts specially built for them in the vineyards. Meanwhile, 20% of the land is left with its natural vegetation – and there are native plant covers, which don’t need much water to flourish, on all 953 hectares of our vineyards there. That’s the case for 25% of Moët Hennessy vineyards in Australia and a further 40% in the U.S.

The oysters’ return

Meanwhile, in the Highlands of Scotland, Glenmorangie single malt whisky has pioneered a trailblazing project to restore oyster reefs fished to extinction more than 100 years ago. So far, thousands have been placed in the water off the coast of its home thanks to its groundbreaking partnership with Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society charity. And there are millions more to come. Established reefs create homes for other creatures and set up food chains, so they have a powerful effect on biodiversity, as our exclusive interview with lead scientist Dr Bill Sanderson reveals. Furthermore, since oysters are renowned water purifiers, they will work in tandem with Glenmorangie’s new anaerobic digestion plant to purify the water which the Distillery returns to the sea.

On the horizon

While much has been achieved by Moët Hennessy already, there are ambitious plans to enhance biodiversity even more. For instance, while Veuve Clicquot abandoned herbicides in its vineyards in 2018, within five years all our champagne and wine houses will have followed suit. Moët Hennessy recently pledged to invest €20million in a centre in Champagne dedicated to researching sustainable viticulture. And it has committed to a Living Soils University, working with winegrowers, scientists and others on the search for ways to preserve and regenerate our soil – an essential ecosystem in itself. So you can be sure that, when it comes to biodiversity, your favourite bottle is playing its part.