Cognac: the organic furrow for the Peyrat distillery
House of Cognac

Cognac: the organic furrow for the Peyrat distillery

Located in Houlette, the Peyrat distillery sells 10,000 bottles of organic cognac every year. A UFO in the conventional landscape. The pineau is his next challenge.

Today, Jean-François Rault is leaving his stills behind to take the road towards Nuremberg. Every year, the German city hosts one of the largest organic fairs in the world. Installed at the Domaine du Peyrat in Houlette, the professional distiller sells 10,000 bottles of his cognac stamped AB (1) each year.

"There is progress, it's encouraging, but the subsidiary is still not very dynamic," he says, "those who want to take the plunge are not sure they will find a market to sell their products. »

Since 1998, he has banned all phytosanitary products from his twenty hectares of vines and he only distills and stores organic cognac. "This is the moment we lost our biggest client. It was an opportunity to question ourselves. And I have always had an environmental sensitivity. Paradoxically, its 100% natural eau-de-vie is blended with litres of conventional cognac in the tanks of a large trading house. "I accept that my cognac is not valued to favour the thirty or so winegrowers who distill at home. The market is not important enough to absorb the region's production, I play together.

Three years of conversion

However, less than 1% of the vines planted in the cognac appellation are organic. According to him, about sixty new hectares have been added between 2010 and 2011.

Next year, Jean Guerbé's 42 hectares of segonzac vineyards will be added. The winegrower is entering his second year of conversion, out of the three regulatory years.

"I was already working on organic vines for customers. I thought to myself why not," he explains, "convinced that his choice will be a good one. "If the cognac market relapses, we will have an exit route, since organic will have added value.

70% of the bottles in the Domaine du Peyrat, from VS to XO, are now spun in Scandinavia.

"In the United States, the European standard is not recognised, so we cannot recover the bottles," regrets the winegrower. Especially since next year, he will launch an organic pineau for export.

"A big house would have to take over the organic business to boost the market. It is only with their financial strength that we will be able to finance the breeding of eaux-de-vie". Camus studied this alternative, before abandoning it. Jean-François Rault's oldest cognac is only about twelve years old and its selling price is not necessarily at its highest. Since he chose organic, the yield of his vines has dropped by 15% and only eight of his twelve stills are working.

If he refuses the shortcut that wants what is organic to be better, he is convinced that his cognac has more aroma than a conventional one, "because the vines will look for what they need deeper in the soil, rooting is more important".

illustration photos : Despite a decrease in his turnover, Jean-François Rault does not regret his conversion to organic farming. © J. K.
(1) For "organic farming".


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