Château de Berne chases certification to attract next generation of Provence rosé drinkers
As Provence estate Château de Berne turns to organic viticulture, the senior management of its parent owner explain to db why sustainability and quality assurance are “big ticket items” in the region’s wine industry.
Sebastien Latz, the chief executive of wine business MDCV in the south of France, told db that, since joining the company in November 2017, he wanted to focus on organic production as “none of the big players decided to do it straight away,” adding that he considers the power to advertise the group’s wines as eco-friendly a “big ticket item”.
Château de Berne dates back to the 11th century with over three centuries of winemaking tradition. It covers more than 500 hectares of land, of which about 130 hectares are vineyards, which this year are being converted to organic. The estate is also home to a 5-star Relais & Châteaux hotel & Michelin Star restaurant, making it a major tourist destination. Within the last two years, a further 50 hectares have been planted at the estate in order to scale up production.
MDCV, a group of four Provence-based wine businesses, was recently launched with a “clearly defined” segmentation strategy. Each winery has a “distinct brand identity, which a key element to supporting long-term growth and to drive awareness in both the on and off-trade,” according to global sales director Anthony Carfantan.
The group as a whole, meanwhile, is chasing certification of a different kind. As of this year, all four estates within MDCV have gained ISO 9001 certification, Latz said, which he describes as a “holistic” approach to helping a rosé business stay successful as the market becomes more saturated with new entrants. The certification means that the group must maintain a certain quality standard in everything from its viticulture and production right through to branding and customer service.
Carfantan added that “you have to” prioritise sustainable viticulture and make these initiatives clear to consumers in today’s market in order to stand out.
“We all try to do our bit to make the world better,” he said, “and from the carbon footprint point we tend to do well.”
According to EU regulations, it takes roughly three years for businesses that cultivate “orchards of perennial soft, top and vine fruits” to gain organic certification, requiring regular checks from officials.
The estate is located in the inland Haut Var area of Provence, which gives it a slightly higher altitude and diurnal range, as well as poor limestone soils which make ideal conditions for organic viticulture, according to Carfantan. Each of the wineries within MDCV follow “sustainable viticulture”, with its boutique St Roux winery certified organic.