As market leader in the production and distribution of spirits and wines in Romania, Alexandrion Group is reducing pesticide use in an effort to improve viticulture sustainability and is continually looking to integrate sustainability initiatives wherever possible and have taken a big step forward within Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892 winery.
At the beginning of last year, the winery, which is part of Alexandrion Group, applied the zero-pesticide approach to 50% of the vine, using environmentally friendly alternatives to deter insects and fungi from damaging the vines. This multi-stage process in fact started back in 2022 with Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892 winery implementing an integrated pest management approach, aimed at strengthening the vine and making it more resilient to future attacks.
Operations and Rum Director of Alexandrion Group, Lorenzo Vergani, who coordinates the activity of Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892 winery, commented:
“The health of our consumers and protecting the environment, that is aggressed by so many external factors are our absolute priorities. Experience has proven to us that producing pesticide free wines while maintaining the same quality standards that we have accustomed our consumers with, is possible.”
Recent research has shown that including permissible copper compounds in organic agricultural production can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in consumers of organic products treated with copper compounds. With this in mind, Alexandrion Group plans to eliminate all factors that could negatively impact a person’s health from its wine production.
“In 2018, when Alexandrion Group took over Halewood winery, which was later rebranded into Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892, the pest control program was managed by French experts and they used pesticides that comply with the periodic list issued by the European Union, including pesticides allowed in EU countries. However, because we are aware of the negative effects that pesticides can have, we decided to replace them with alternative pest control methods. This is a multi-stage process throughout which we rely on the expertise of Jean-François Joumier, Master Distiller and Oenologist Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892, who has been working with the group for more than 25 years and George Barnotty, an expert in agronomy with a very strong track record in biological alternative industry.”
Although the Group has been developing and updating grape production methods, it has managed to maintain traditional methods in grape fermentation and wine production with grape vine care methods following the latest scientific advances in agricultural pest management.
George Barnotty explains:
“This integrated pest management system involves all agricultural operations aimed at strengthening the plants and making them more resilient to pest caused by insects, fungi, or other external factors. It also involves precise field monitoring using the latest technology, such as drones, to monitor growth, control the intensity of infestation, and determine the appropriate time for chemical intervention with registered pesticides accepted by the EU, if necessary. For example, during the 2023 grape production season, Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892 winery did not use any insecticides. This does not mean that the insects didn’t attack the vine, but rather that their presence did not cause significant damage to the production, in terms of quantity and quality.”
A wide range of complex agricultural operations and a significant focus on carefully managing the grape vine’s nutrition has helped to achieve this level of natural resilience to insects. It has been based on complex analyses of the plants’ needs, soil nutrients and environmental interactions related to the number of sunny and cloudy days, rainfall levels and changes in relative humidity, as well as the number of moonlit nights, because insect transmission occurs at night.
A large quantity of Alexandrion Group’s wines are exported to countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Dubai, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan. And in 2023 the wines produced by the Domeniile Alexandrion Rhein 1892 were awarded master, gold and silver medals in prestigious international competitions such as Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Mundus Vini and Vinarium.
The Group’s wine ranges include Hyperion, Hyperion Exclusive, The Mythological Collection, Concert Prestige Rosé, Byzantium and Prahova Valley and sparkling wines from Rhein Extra range. For more information please visit: www.dar1892.com and www.rhein1892.com.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Alexandrion Group