The Aureto winery in the heart of the Luberon stands for high quality, sustainable cultivation and the use of biodynamic viticultural techniques. A wide range of cuvées, from which our rosé wines in particular stand out, have won many prizes in national and international competitions. Together with the Hotel "Coquillade", we are among the leading culinary and gastronomic establishments in Provence.
Aureto currently works some 30 hectares of land. 17 hectares are in the area around the Hotel Coquillade near Gargas. The other vines are near the pretty villages of Gordes and Oppède. The various soil types make it possible to grow a range of grape varieties, including Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, as well as the lesser-known Caladoc, Marselan and Chenanson. This diversity offers the opportunity to create expressive wines which reflect the beauty of nature perfectly. Thanks to the work of the whole Aureto team, the wines have won a great many prestigious national and international awards and are featured in the best French and international wine guides. Going forward, the product range will focus on rosé wines, with whites and reds rounding out the portfolio. In 2020, after Andreas Rihs' sons took over the winery, a fundamental change in direction was ushered in:
- In September 2021 Aureto became one of the first wineries in the South of France to go climate neutral. Each and every CO2 emission is scrutinised with a view to minimising it. Thus, for example, new lighter bottles are used to reduce raw material use and freight transport emissions. The switch to renewable energy has been ramped up, and the supply chain optimised with a view to CO2 neutrality.
- The entire production process has been switched to organic winegrowing methods. Humus-rich soil and biodiversity in vineyards are important requirements for producing high-quality wines full of local character. That means, for example, dropping the use of herbicides and insecticides as well as synthetic plant protection products and mechanical working of the soil. All of the above are requirements for organic certification, which Aureto is set to gain in 2022.
- Furthermore, Aureto plans to create their own compost and plant based carbon production zone. The placement of a permaculture garden directly in the vineyard supports efforts to drive biodiversity and regional self-sufficiency to higher levels. Care for these areas together with socially principled associations and institutions is wholly supported.
Climate neutral and sustainable culture
Aureto is Luberon's first climate-neutral winery! As vintners, sustainable viticulture is a central part of the team mindset. Two things are important at Aureto: working in a way that is as environmentally friendly as possible and setting up sustainable operations, now and into the future.
In this respect, climate change mitigation is front and centre in the work. Aureto sees the following responsibilities in its winemaking role: to address the emissions that are generated, to quantify the effects that the winery has on the climate and to take the appropriate measures to reduce and offset onsite greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.
The winery has been climate-neutral since 2021. Together with the consultancy AIM — Advice in Motion GmbH, a project has been implemented to measure the carbon footprint using international greenhouse gas protocol standards.
For the 2020 calendar year, Aureto's total climate footprint came out at 181.6 tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions generated. This works out at roughly 500 grams of CO2 emissions per bottle of 2020 wine. But Aureto won't stop there. They are continuing on a consistent path to climate change mitigation. Measures to steadily reduce emissions in the coming years have already been implemented:
- Opting for lighter glass bottles
- A focus on regional suppliers to reduce freight transport distances
- A switch to less harmful cooling agents
- Consolidation of work processes and distances covered in the vineyard
- A switch to green electricity
- Opting for climate-neutral shipping solutions for outgoing shipments
Climate neutrality has been achieved by offsetting the remaining unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions with climate change mitigation projects first done in 2020. In total, 200 tonnes of CO2 emissions were offset by two tree-planting projects in Uganda and Uruguay. The projects hold internationally recognised certifications for climate change mitigation projects: Gold Standard and VCS.
With these climate change mitigation measures, Aureto is taking responsibility for using natural resources carefully and in an environmentally friendly way. A steady improvement in the climate footprint will be achieved by further bypassing and reducing emissions and offsetting unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. This will be realised in order to produce wines in a climate-neutral way, now and long into the future.
Consequently, the carbon footprint is being measured again in 2022. In doing so, it will be possible to check how effective the climate change mitigation measures have been. Aureto can also offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions using recognised, certified climate change mitigation projects.
Climate change mitigation is a central part of the extensive sustainability strategy for the winery. This covers further aspects and sets targets in respect of innovative, sustainable development.
Provence enthusiast Andreas Rihs took over the winery in 2006. A new era began when it was renamed Aureto, which means "light breeze" in the Provençal dialect. Andreas Rihs created a unique place with the winery and its Hotel "Coquillade". There you can experience the tranquillity of the beautiful landscape, the light, the sun, the hospitality and the unique South of France way-of-life with all your senses.
Wine is an essential element of this area, especially the rosé that so wonderfully complements the southern France savoir-vivre. This collection of rosé, white and red wines is among the best that Provence has to offer. From the very beginning, the aim was to produce high-quality wine. The vines have been cared for to produce expressive grapes. A new wine cellar was also built to create an optimal working environment.
Following the passing of Andreas Rihs in 2018, his sons Oliver and Tobias kept Aureto running with the aim of making it one of the leading wineries in the Luberon.
Viticulture methods used at Aureto
A team of young, keen experts has a free rein to get the best out of the vineyards in the Luberon and Ventoux. The team is made up of people who are passionate about wine. Since 2009, Aurelié Julien has been responsible for the winemaking, from vine to bottle. At that point Nicole Guillot steps in and takes responsibility for successful marketing. They share a conviction that vine care is key to wine quality. That is why personal contact with the vine is very important. That is why the vineyards are carefully worked by hand.
In winter, the vines are pruned in accordance with the principles of "gentle vine pruning" in order to preserve the sap pathways as far as possible and thus ensure that the entire vine retains its vitality, even into old age. Plants growing too high beneath the vine are removed by hand, or with a special kind of plough. The use of herbicides, insecticides and synthetic plant protection products such as weedkiller is shunned. This is the best way to ensure that the vineyard's soil remains healthy in the long term. These measures are supported by natural plant protection products, non-mechanical working of the soil and humus cultivation. To deliver natural nutrients, new greening mixtures are spread in the vineyards each year. Here, various grasses and herbaceous plants are used, which also constitute a valuable habitat for bees and other insects. In this way Aureto not only contributes to increasing biodiversity in the vineyards, but also to nature conservation in a broader sense.
Thanks to targeted hand-defoliation, the foliage is loose and well ventilated. This allows the grapes to dry off more quickly after rainfall, and thus ensures that they remain healthy. This hands-on approach to vine care means that the condition of the vineyards is known at any given time and the team can take any action required.
At the end of each winegrowing year, harvesting the grapes by hand is one of the most important fundamentals for getting the grapes from the vineyard into the cellar without their quality being impaired. The grape pickers examine each grape carefully, discard any damaged or rotten ones and keep only the optimally-ripened specimens. This ensures that only perfectly ripe, healthy grapes make it into the winery. This is key to producing the highest quality wine. Once the best grapes have been harvested the fruit is taken down to the cellar. That is where the vintner and her team work on exploiting the aroma and flavour potential of the fruit. A return to traditional viticulture methods, supported by fermentation in ceramic amphorae, wooden barrels and concrete eggs, adds a special touch. Small yields and the state-of-the-art cellar technology make it possible to distil that distinctive character local to Aureto into special vintages.
Under the leadership of dedicated vintner Aurelié Julien and site manager Nicole Guillot, the aim has been to reposition Aureto and offer even higher quality.
Oenologist Aurelié Julien, who has been in charge of the winemaking since 2009, heads up Aureto's technical team and hails from the nearby town of Apt. She holds a degree in Viticulture and Oenology, a Master's Degree in Vine Sciences and a Diploma in Oenology from the University of Montpellier. Aurelié organises all the work in the vineyards. In the cellar, during the vinification and maturation of the different vintages, Aurelie is aided by consultants with international experience.
Nicole Guillot, who is responsible for the successful marketing of the wine, is professionally trained in International Sales and holds a Master's Degree in Vine and Wine Law.
Together with the team, they work on furthering the winery's development and plotting its change of course.