You don’t need to ever convince me to drink champagne. But if there’s one time when the rest of the world also comes aboard the bubbly boat, it’s the week of New Year’s Eve. One champagne house is trying to change how the world consumes champagne on a regular basis. Champagne Telmont, a house that dates back to 1912, is in the process of fully converting their agricultural processes to be 100 percent certified organic. “It’s a big, big bold commitment,” says Ludovic du Plessis, president of Telmont Champagne. For champagne to be certified organic, the grapes must be harvested without the use of any forms of herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, an extremely strict standard in the wine world. In general, du Plessis says that the champagne industry is largely a sustainable one. But only three percent of the world’s supply of champagne is certified organic.
That is largely due in part because it is not cheap nor easy. The process for becoming certified organic doesn’t happen overnight. It was a decade-long process for Telmont, who received its first certification for certain sections of the house’s vineyard in 2017. Currently, 49 percent of Telmont’s total cultivated areas, which is made up of nearly 200 acres, are certified organic or are currently in conversion. The entire house does not anticipate being able to receive organic certification until 2025.
Converting Telmont’s champagne to be 100 percent organic isn’t the only sustainable change that du Plessis has implemented. “In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we have also decided to stop the use of gift boxes,” said du Plessis. He and his team bike out to the vineyards when they visit, rather than take a car, as well. He believes the product speaks for itself and doesn’t need excessive and wasteful packaging to make it look beautiful. Telmont has also committed to selling their champagne in bottles exclusively made from entirely recycled glass.
The final step in the house’s transition to being a fully organic and transparent company is designing new, detailed labels that clearly explains the color of the champagne, the ideal serving temperature, the bottle number, what it should taste like, what you should pair it with, the breakdown of grape variety, and how long it aged. Not only does this transparency facilitate trust between the brand and the consumer, but it also helps to create a more educated drinker.
So what does this conversion mean for consumers who are shopping for some bubbly? Telmont’s first bottles of certified organic champagne will not be available for consumers until 2023. And once they are on shelves, the price of the three-year aged champagne will reflect these significant, sustainable changes. Currently a bottle of Telmont Réserve Brut retails for around $70; the new organic bottles will begin at $90. While the price is not cheap, du Plessis feels confident that Telmont’s customers will see the value in a more environmentally-friendly product. “In the last 20 years, the champagne region has done a great job regarding sustainability, but there’s a long way to go until we can become a leader in organic agriculture,” he added.
Which bottle of champagne will you be opening on New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments below!