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Labels & certifications

Labels & certifications

Navigating through the various labels and certifications of wines...

In recent years, labels and certifications have proliferated in the wine industry, making it sometimes difficult to navigate. Here are some helpful explanations for all informed enthusiasts:

  • Wines under "sustainable" (durable) agriculture

This term is not part of any label or certification; it simply refers to the practices of the winemaker. Sustainable agriculture is a method of managing agricultural production aimed at minimizing the environmental impact by optimizing inputs such as pesticides, herbicides, and non-organic chemical fertilizers that may end up in the wine.

  • Wines labeled as HVE (High Environmental Value)

This is a certification label obtained after a probationary period of 3 years. The method of managing agricultural production aims primarily to minimize the impact of agriculture on the environment. It advocates for the establishment of hedges to promote nesting, etc., as well as the gradual reduction of inputs. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemical amendments are allowed in progressively minimal doses. At bottling, similar to sustainable agriculture, the amount of sulfur in red wine must not exceed 120 mg/liter.

  • Wines called "natural" or "natural wine"

These wines have neither label nor certification. The vineyard may thus be worked with synthetic molecules, pesticides, and herbicides, which may end up in the wine. Vinification and aging are carried out without any added sulfur. Consequently, the wines are processed without exposure to air to prevent them from deteriorating. Therefore, it is advisable to aerate them significantly before tasting.

  • Organic wines

Organic wines are subject to annual certification accompanied by a French and European label. Pesticides and herbicides are prohibited. Only copper and sulfur are allowed to treat the vines. These substances are preventive and not curative. The amount of copper per hectare is limited over 5 years to an average of 5 kg/ha annually. (While in sustainable agriculture or HVE, for a single treatment, 5 kg/ha are already used!). The amount of sulfur in bottled red wine must not exceed 100 mg/liter.

  • Wines in Biodynamic agriculture

The DEMETER label is an international brand. Its acquisition requires an annual inspection conducted by DEMETER-certified inspectors to ensure that the specifications are being followed.


The vineyard and wines must already be certified organic to obtain biodynamic certification. This is an additional requirement:

While organic farming uses inputs (copper and sulfur) to treat vineyard diseases, biodynamics aims to increase vine resistance to diseases.

These two inseparable practices are therefore complementary.

Biodynamics views the environment as a "whole." It uses preparations composed solely of 100% natural elements such as medicinal plants, silica, certain excrements, and works with the aim of creating links between the different living elements present in the vineyard to develop vine resistance to diseases.


Finally, in biodynamic farming, vinification is natural without the addition of exogenous yeasts, and the amount of sulfur in the bottle must not exceed 60 mg/liter.

"The Château Fougas has been certified in Biodynamics since 2010, and over time, we have observed an increase in the quality of the resulting wine: more finesse, aroma, and minerality. While all of these practices aim to protect the environment and human health,

the essence of a wine still lies in its taste quality and the pleasure of its consumption."

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