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Protecting the environment while making lovely wine in Centre-Loire

The Joseph Mellot estate in the Central Loire region of France has a history that spans more than 500 years yet it is one of the most-forward looking wine groups in the country in terms of protecting the environment. It also makes lovely wine.

In 2009 Mellot was the first winery in Central Loire to attain ISO 14001 certification for environmental management. That same year it was the first French vineyard to join the 10:10 climate change campaign.

Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand launched the 10:10 campaign against global warming via the Good Planet Foundation in 2010, based around the idea that everyone can do something for the planet. In essence, 10:10 invites people and businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent a year.

Mellot has achieved this goal through reducing the weight of its glass bottles and adopting the PET bottle for some wines. PET is an abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate, a polymer that makes light bottles and which can be easily recycled. Wines in PET bottles are exported to Scandinavia because of that region's support for environmental issues.

The Mellot web site proudly notes that the cut in packaging costs was equivalent to a reduction of 150,000 km of car travel last year.

The company, founded by Pierre Etienne Mellot in 1513, has been a leader in France in a range of wine-related areas including wine tourism. In support of 10:10, all tours of Mellot estates are done in small electric cars.

It is also the only producer to own vines in all of the key Central Loire appellations.

The commitment to quality shows in the wines, from the three entry-level Destinea range to the single vineyard flagship wines. Destinea is named after the boats that used to carry goods on the Loire, and these are very good wines at their price point, full of flavor and speaking fondly of terroir.

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