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Vignobles Gilles Louvet
The Organic Philosophy

Gilles Louvet first launched into the organic adventure in 1993, when he became aware of the harmful effects of chemicals on Man, nature and the terroir. He has remained loyal to his undertakings ever since, and offers organic wines produced in an environmentally-friendly manner.

The History of a Passion

1993 - Celliers du Languedoc Vins Distribution are founded by Gilles Louvet

1999 - Winemaking process monitoring set up for Celliers du Languedoc winegrowing partners to guarantee the consistent organoleptic quality required by Gilles Louvet

2001 - Gilles Louvet joins the Board of the AIVB (Inter-Professional Association of Organic Wines) which was set up at the initiative of winegrowers in organic farming to promote the development of organic wines

2002 - Subsidiary opened in Germany

2006-2009 - Partnership with the WWF to support its Mediterranean cork oak forest defense program

2007 - Gilles Louvet appointed Vice President of the AIVB

2009 - Gilles Louvet becomes the owner of vineyards in the Gard and Hérault regions

2010 - Subsidiary opened in the United States: Gilles Louvet Vineyards

Key Figures

Positioning
No. 1 supplier of organic wines in France
No. 2 supplier of organic wines in Europe
No. 1 organic winemaker in Europe (700 hectares)

Sales
7,000,000 sales - 3 million bottles

Distribution Networks
Wholesalers / Wine Merchants 65%
Supermarkets 20%
Trade 15%
EXPORT 60% - FRANCE 40%

The Vineyards
70 hectares in the Gard and Hérault region

The Team
A company on a human scale, with 11 employees

Gilles Louvet Wines

“In invite you to rediscover wine - wine as it originally used to be made, nourished by the winegrower’s passion for the land and the terroir. It is this little extra feeling, the hard labour amongst the vines and the ability to listen to the needs of nature that results in the unique character of our wines.” - Gilles Louvet

The originality of Gilles Louvet wines lies in our desire not to make a “house flavour,” a fixed style. Quite the opposite - we want to place the emphasis on difference, the little gustatory touch that is specific to each terroir and each wine.

Our wines comply with all the international certifications in the production and marketing of wines from organic agriculture (CEE, NOP, Delinat, KRAV ...). All the producers and the bottling and storage centres are ECOCERT or Qualité France certified, and some of them have signed up to additional charters (NOP, Delinat, Nature et Progrès...). As well as the mandatory certifications, we analyse our wines at each stage in the process, from vinification through to bottling, in order to guarantee the absence of any pollutants. The standard analysis covers 145 molecules.

Award-Winning Wines in the Major Competitions
Gilles Louvet wines are regular medal-winners in competitions, thereby providing proof of the quality of wines from organic agriculture.

View the award-winning wines on our website:
www.vignobles-gilleslouvet.com

Partnership & Winemakers

Gilles Louvet works with 50 producers and 10 cooperative wineries on 700 hectares of vines to offer an extensive range of organic wines from Languedoc Roussillon, the Rhone Valley, the Gers and Bordeaux regions. These producers are supported in their vine-growing and winemaking endeavours within the framework of a quality charter drawn up, among other things, in accordance with customer requirements.

These contracts are also a guarantee of development for the winegrowers as they set down precise quantity and price objectives, as well as the requirements of Gilles Louvet wines. Our longest-standing partners have been working with Gilles Louvet since 1993, and the partnership renewal rate is 95%.

The Vignobles Gilles Louvet oenologists are on hand to help the partner producers at every stage in the vinification process, so as to ensure that the quality complies with customer expectations.

Lionel Puech, Vignobles Gilles Louvet Oenologist: “The growers are partners first and foremost, and we work with the them over time to build up a relation of confidence and respect gradually. This enriching relationship makes us much more precise in our management of the winemaking process, thanks to perfect knowledge of the people, the terroirs and the potential behind each of the wines.”

Today, the Vignobles Gilles Louvet are developing a 1,500-hectare organic conversion plan with the objective of passing on their experience to winegrowers wishing to switch to organic methods.

Our Vineyards

As the grandson of a winegrower, it was only natural that Gilles Louvet should become the owner of organic vineyards in 2009. The 70 hectares of vineyards in the Gard and Hérault have organic certification.

Domaine Saint Félix des Toureilles, in the Hérault region, comprises 55 hectares of vines. In the Hérault, the vineyard is a very large one for an organic estate: 55 hectares. It comprises a wide range of grape varieties and soil types: Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and Cinsault. The land stretches from the plain up onto slopes in the foothills of the mountains and is ideally oriented for vine-growing, as well as benefiting from an exceptional landscape and a view as far as the Mediterranean when the weather is fine. Another particular feature of the vineyard is that it covers four appellations: Vin de Pays de l’Hérault, Vin de Pays d’Oc, AOC Languedoc and AOC Saint Chinian. The winery is reserved for upmarket Gilles Louvet range wines and for maturing in barrels.

In the Gard region, Domaine Jardin des Iris stands on 15 hectares. Set at an altitude of 300 metres on the northern terroir of the Cévennes foothills, the vines enjoy ideal conditions, isolated in the heart of an oak forest. This cocoon forms a barrier against outside pollution. The cool nights and Cévennes climate ensure that the grapes live up to their potential thanks to a slow ripening process. This experimental estate is used to carry out full-scale trials to test the specific winemaking choices inherent to organic farming.

Organic Wine &
Respect of the Environment

Organic farming is based on respect for nature and the vegetation cycles. This agricultural method prohibits the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides as they are harmful to Man and the environment.

The aim is to help soil live longer and better and thus maintain biodiversity around crop zones. It is easy to distinguish organic vines form other vines in the landscape, because they are surrounded by grass, flowers and natural spaces in which insects that are vital to the ecosystem come to live.

Environmental protection is our priority,
because it is in the vines that a good wine is made.

At Domaine des Iris, Gilles Louvet has conducted a study on the protection of the water table in partnership with the Water Agency. The aim is to put in place a procedure to restore the purest possible water to the water table.

The next study will be on lowering CO2 emissions with a view to reducing our carbon footprint even further.

Our Actions for Sustainable Environmental Protection

Between 2006 and 2009, alongside WWF, the world’s leading ecological NGO, we committed our support to the program for the defense of Mediterranean cork oak forests. In these forests biodiversity is a major concern. All the Mediterranean plant and animal life is represented in them and certain rare species are to be found there, such as the Iberian cat.

The cork oak is one of the few trees that can resist fire, thanks to its thick cork bark. This is a considerable asset in the Mediterranean region where the summers are particularly hot and sometimes devastating. Century-old oaks also offer the advantage of forming a carbon sink trapping CO2, which is responsible for global warming.

For our wines we use natural cork with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, offering a guarantee of sustainable forestry management.

Carbon Footprint

The Vignobles Gilles Louvet were the first producer-trading house to analyse the carbon footprint of its activity, in January 2008.

The calculation method it used went on to serve as a model for the whole of the wine-trading sector. With a calculation encompassing everything from the vines through to client deliveries, the carbon footprint confirmed that organic agriculture limits CO2 emissions thanks to cleaner growing techniques: it uses neither chemical fertilizer nor pesticides or weed-killer. These chemicals produce substantial CO2 emissions.

This carbon inventory strengthened the company’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint. Gilles Louvet wines now use the piggyback process for deliveries to stores. This solution only uses the road for the last part of the route, and rail is preferred for the main part of the journey. The distance to be covered must be at least 600km to cover the costs induced by changing vehicles. The first results have demonstrated that CO2 emissions are reduced by 70 to 76% and by as much as 92% on an Avignon-Compiègne trip.


Read the article from Gilbert & Gaillard (Spring 2012)

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