Oenomed is a cross-border co-operation pilot project between Tunisia, Lebanon, Italy and France, spearheaded by Tunisia. Its aims are to foster and promote the earth-friendly techniques of sustainable vineyard management. The challenge is to achieve a ‘Wine from Mediterranean Protected Areas’ endorsement. Who would benefit and how? We take a closer look at the project.
- Who is behind Oenomed?
- The Oenomed charters
- The next steps
Who is behind Oenomed?
From a practical perspective, the pilot project aims to help around 40 wine-producing SMEs: 8 in France, 8 in Italy, 8 in Lebanon and 12 in Tunisia. It is also aimed at the 7,000 companies listed in the four participating countries. Ninety percent funded by the European Union in the Mediterranean, the overall budget allocated is €2.7 million. This ambitious programme benefits from institutional and technical support in each country, totalling 12 partners. In France, institutional support comes from both the Hérault departmental council and the AOC Languedoc producers’ organisation. The research side is represented by INRAE (the National Institute for Agronomic Research) with Jean-Marc Touzard as project manager. In 2016, Touzard led the forecast study aimed at identifying the challenges for the French wine industry in 2050 with regard to climate change, among other research projects. He believes “the Mediterranean is a biodiversity hotspot”. Oenomed promotes “networking and co-operation among stakeholders in the Mediterranean wine space”. For Philippe Carbonnel, an engineer at the Hérault departmental council who was the initial catalyst for the project with an Italian partner, the programme will “foster environmentally-friendly winegrowing practices that can have resonance elsewhere”. He also stresses: “The history of vines overlaps with the history of the Mediterranean. It is a poignant marker of Mediterranean identity”.
The Oenomed charters
The project went live in Tunis in May 2021 and the four countries have since worked separately to establish charters, each with their own local specificities. Florian Bergé, an agricultural engineer at INRAE tasked with the technical aspect of Oenomed in France, expounds further: “Each country has a different charter but with a common identity in order to take into account specific local features, adapted to the local environment”.
The Oenomed local charter describes the conditions and commitments that wine companies in a region linked to a Mediterranean protected area must comply with to be entitled to use the ‘Wine from Mediterranean Protected Areas’ statement. The local charter aligns with the general values and principles of the Mediterranean umbrella charter, namely:
1. To preserve and enhance the heritage resources that form the basis of Mediterranean identity: biodiversity, water, soil and landscape, historical remains and sites, products, and the tangible and intangible components of the wine industry.
2. To comply with the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) Guide to Sustainable Viticulture;
3. To encourage local consultation between winegrowing stakeholders and those involved in the management of these resources;
4. To encourage co-operation between the different countries and regions that coexist around the Mediterranean and can share these issues;
5. To support innovative actions that contribute to sustainability for wine companies.
The next steps At the end of September 2022, following publication of the charters, the four countries issued calls for projects for each area, based on their local specificities. The selected companies will benefit from financial support of up to €20,000 for the technical part and €7,000 for the promotion of their environmentally-friendly actions. Ultimately, “we hope to be able to create a ‘Wine from Mediterranean Protected Areas’ endorsement. But above all, we want to work on a reference brand recognised by consumers”, explains Carbonnel. The earth-friendly programme is due to end in 2023.
Sources : https://www.facebook.com/OENOMED/, https://www.enicbcmed.eu/projects/oenomed?fbclid=IwAR2EvYYIr-3QXoIO12IdgnX9TEo91T6R3Z55gxwKTaP_KmdL4_R5WDwGDas,