With 25 million bottles of wine sold a year, Gérard Bertrand promotes Languedoc and biodynamic wines the world over.
“I’m convinced that wine-growing in harmony with nature is the best way to produce fine wines,”
Gérard Bertrand, the owner of 850 hectares (2,100 acres) of vines in the south of France, like to say. His hallmark? His entire domain has either already transitioned to the principles of biodynamic agriculture, or is in transition. “We’re pioneers, in France and in the world,” the former international rugby player, whose eponymous wine-making company generated €144 million in revenue in 2019.
This businessman extraordinaire, who produces 25 million bottles a year – half of which is sold abroad, was named the Drinks Business Green Awards’ “Green Personality of the Year 2020.”
“Sustainably preserving the environment, rediscovering the harmony and balance of ecosystems, promoting the precision of wine-growers’ gestures,”
is his leitmotiv. As a fervent defender of biodiversity, he took his first steps on the path to biodynamics back in 2002, on a domain called Le Cigalus, a stone’s throw from Narbonne, the town where he was born. Soon several of his domains – he owns 15 – had obtained the Demeter international biodynamic-agriculture certification label. It must be said that the local climate is conducive to it.
“As a rule, agricultural land in the south of France is conducive to organic and bio-dynamic methods, thank the low humidity and the wind,” he points out.
- Best Red Wine in the World –
More demanding than organic agriculture, biodynamic wine-growing goes well beyond the simple fact of excluding chemicals. Wine-growers that use the method apply plant-based preparations to help the vines stay strong and develop well (like a kind of preventive homeopathic treatment). They also rely on the lunar calendar to make sure that the plant, the soil, and the moon’s influences work hand in hand. Wine fining – a technique that involves adding a protein-based substance to flush out particles in suspension – and filtration are both authorized, but the allowable amount of sulfites is lower than the one for organic wine.
Gérard Bertrand has won his wager: his Château l’Hospitalet Grand Vin 2017, from the La Clape appellation, was elected the best red wine globally at the 2019 International Wine Challenge. “The award proves that we are now making top-notch wines with biodynamics,” Gérard Bertrand boasts. QED.