Rule Demanding Five-foot Distance Between Champagne Vines Is Scrapped

Posted: Jul 30, 2021

Even the great traditions of wine growers in the champagne region are not immune to fears about climate change, it seems.

Yesterday the growers scrapped a century-old rule governing the distance between vines to cut the emissions produced by their machinery.

For 100 years, the maximum allowed has been 1.5metres (5ft). This forces the vines to compete with neighbours, a struggle that helps them produce the ideal grape.

But a 15-year study by growers, scientists and champagne houses found that larger spaces would allow a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions because machinery could work more efficiently.

Despite fierce resistance from traditionalists, growers' organisation SGV voted to allow a space of up to 2.2metres (7ft).

Vincent Legras, a grower who backs the change, said: 'Vines would be more resistant to drought. For me the debate is over.'

'The aim is to accompany the necessary agro-ecological transition by adapting Champagne vines to climate change, while at the same time preserving the quality and unique quality, and the economic sustainability of wine growers,' said SGV's president, Maxime Toubart.

By Mail Foreign Service
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