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In order to minimise the use of vine protection products and prepare vineyards for inevitable climate change, the Champagne region has embarked on a varietal creation programme combining traditional hybridisation techniques and innovative tools.
This involves crossing existing Champagne grape varieties with those displaying a natural resistance to some diseases or presenting interesting features, such as late maturation, in order to obtain a natural resistance or a cultivation capacity better suited to new climatic conditions.
Of the varieties obtained, a succession of selections will be needed to pin down those combining both the required characteristics of current varieties and the desired resistant genes, ensuring that Champagne retains its unique style. The research programme will last a minimum of fifteen years, after which a number of new varieties will be put forward for inclusion first in the official catalogue of vine species, then in the official appellation’s specifications.
This ambitious, very long-term programme is a new example of Champagne innovative spirit which has consistently achieved qualitative progress over the past three centuries, continuing the Champagne region’s tradition of proactive measures to protect the environment (simultaneous introduction of carbon reduction, water management and biodiversity action plans since the early 2000s, followed by the launch in 2014 of Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne certification).
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