BRIT Announces that Les Vignerons de Buzet Wins Top Honors in its 2016 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing Competition

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Three-time Applicant, Buzet, Shows Year-Over-Year Continuous Improvement with Advances in Environmental, Economic, and Social Programs - Sandeman and Casa Ferreirinha from Portugal Receive Gold Medals for Their Outstanding Ground-to-Glass Sustainability Programs

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BRIT's 2016 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing

The common thread that runs through this year’s applicants is their deep commitment to their respective native grape varieties and their devotion to sustainable winegrowing practices,” said Ed Schneider, BRIT's president and director

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is pleased to announce the winners in its 2016 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing competition. The platinum medal goes to Les Vignerons de Buzet of Buzet-sur-Baïse, France, based on the winery’s on-going programs that address the three elements of sustainability - environment, economic, and social -- as well as wine taste. This was Buzet’s third year competing in the BRIT competition. It is the only winery to win medals in each of the three competitions.

Two wineries from Portugal, Sandeman and Casa Ferreirinha both won BRIT’s gold medal based on their strong sustainable programs and wine taste.

“The common thread that runs through this year’s applicants is their deep commitment to their respective native grape varieties and their devotion to sustainable winegrowing practices,” said Ed Schneider, BRIT's president and director. “I applaud them for their efforts and their high quality wines.”

“The members of the Buzet Cooperative are committed to conserving the natural resources of our prized appellation AOC Buzet,” said Vincent Leyre, Buzet Cooperative, president of the Supervisory Board. ”Awards like this highlight our respect for nature and what it gives us in order to provide quality wines.”

Founded in 1953, the Buzet Cooperative is comprised of winegrowers that tend 1,870 hectares (4,620 acres) of land within the Lot et Garonne province of France. The cooperative’s grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, and Sauvignon and produces around 2.5M gallons (12 million bottles) of wine annually. 2016 sustainable achievements include Bee Friendly certification, a European bee protection initiative promoting pollinator-friendly farming, participation in the European Winegrower’s study promoting the use of robots to analyze the quality of grapes and assess vineyard yield; the installation of a gym complete with a personalized coach for the well-being of the cooperative’s 99 employees; and the use of drones for tailored fertilization of vines.

The awarded wine was Buzet’s Marquis de Hautevigne (no added sulfites), 2014.

Sandeman and Casa Ferreirinha are owned by Sogrape Vinhos, Portugal’s largest family-owned fine wine company. Both vineyards are located in Portugal’s famed, Douro Valley, where the company owns around 500 hectares (1,235.5 acres) certified sustainable by the International Organization for Biological and Integrated Control (IOBC) Integrated Production (IP) scheme. Both vineyards practice dry farming techniques and use renewable energy through wind, solar, and hydro applications. Each use Phytobac and Heliosec dehydration and evaporation systems for the treatment of spraying effluents and recovering water and both vineyards take leading roles in the international, “Wine in Moderation” program in Portugal.

The awarded wines were: Sandeman’s Vintage Port, 2011 and Casa Ferreirinha’s Quinta Da Leda, 2011.

When submitting for the competition, wineries are asked to provide an assessment of their organization's accomplishments in sustainable winegrowing, winemaking, and ecopreneural/social responsibility practices. They must describe their organization's conservation efforts in the field and in operations; how waste is avoided, how it is reclaimed, and how the winery extends conservation efforts to its customers. They also are required to submit a bottle of wine for a tasting by the judging committee.

Competition for BRIT’s 2016 international award began July, 2015, when wineries submitted applications documenting their sustainable programs relating to environmental, economic, and social aspects of grape growing, and wine production along with their wine samples.

Because the BRIT award is the only international award of its kind, it is of primary interest to wineries which care deeply about the environment and are taking a leading role in their community/region/country by implementing sustainable practices. Sustainable winegrowing programs are, by nature, ongoing so a key part of each program is its continual improvement process.

As a non-profit, international plant research and knowledge sharing organization, BRIT offers this award to help raise interest and awareness of the value plants bring to our lives and the need for biodiversity.

Presentation of the platinum award to Les Vignerons de Buzet will be made during the third-annual, Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, March 31 – April 3, 2016 in Fort Worth.

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Chris Chilton
Botanical Research Institute of Texas
since: 01/1987
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