Bertrand Trepo trained as an agricultural engineer but is man of many talents. As well as being a champagne winegrower and producer he is also a chartered accountant and president of the Association for the Promotion of Coteaux Vitryats as well as Vignoble 192, and Propriété Rurale. Since 2008 he has been involved in high environmental value agriculture and is currently converting to organic practices.
Why did you decide to convert to organic farming?
My involvement pre-dates quality labelling. In 2008 I stopped using weed killer to allow what was supposed to live around the vines to actually grow. Since then, I’ve gradually increased my commitment to the environment. This has taken some time because, like many people, I inherited my vines from my parents. I had to begin by working with what they had accomplished.
Why let sheep graze among the vines?
Working organically isn’t an end in itself. I want to engage in regenerative farming. This means looking after the soil and bringing it to life, which is where the sheep play a role. They remove weeds and their droppings add life to the soil. It’s important to remember that the more alive a soil is, the more carbon it can capture. If the farming sector were to increase the living component of soil by 0.04%, this would eliminate the issue of carbon in the atmosphere. But I know that this type of farming isn’t possible for everyone. I can do this because there is a sheep farmer in the village.
Why harvest the grapes at night?
Because of the environment, the wine, out of curiosity and in the spirit of innovation. We do this to preserve the grapes because it can get very hot at harvest time. And ecologically speaking, the cheapest method of refrigeration is the night air. I was the first to work this way in Champagne and I’m delighted to see other winegrowers, and even one of the large houses, follow suit. But while these harvests are a way of adapting to the natural cycle, they are no solution to climate change.
Champagne Trepo Leriguier
19 B Rue Sainte-Libaire
Tél. : 03 26 73 09 17
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org