Buxy: robots, biodiversity and a classic Montagny

In this interview with Rémi Marlin,General Manager, Vignerons de Buxy, we see how sustainability and working within a union can help French wine businesses to grow

Almost halfway between Dijon and Lyon, in the heart of La Grande Bourgogne, is a medieval commune called Buxy. It was the childhood home of Rémi Marlin, who moved away aged 18 to study and travel. He returned in 2000 to take charge of the vineyard, and, as he told Vinexpo Daily, “I never imagined I would still be here 19 years later! And yet it is still exciting, there is so much to do.”

Where does Vignerons De Buxy fit into the bigger picture of the wine industry?

‘La Compagnie de Burgondie’ is a union, a gathering of seven co-operatives, in charge of trade, marketing and logistics for the region. The whole range is 5000 ha, almost 300,000 hl, last year producing 16.8m bottles. That’s 40% export, 60% to the French market, with a turnover of €59m. The target is to expand our network which is why we are at Vinexpo Bordeaux.

Obviously the region has rich traditions and heritage, so how easy is it to implement sustainability developments?

When I joined Buxy, the former director had done a lot of the technical groundwork. Biodiversity-wise, we planted trees around the vineyards to respect particular species of birds; we maintain the stone wall habitats for green lizards. We are working on ways to reduce treatment – from more localised weather forecasting to more ef cient machinery. We have reduced water and energy consumption, and recycle 90% of everything we use. We only use lighter Burgundy bottles to reduce our impact on the environment. Right now we are also experimenting with two types of robots and planting new resistant varieties of grape.

How has Vinexpo Bordeaux 2019 been for you?

We’ve had very good meetings, good new connections, especially with all the exotic locations that we are too small to go to. Companies enjoy visiting Bordeaux as it is one of the key names in world viticulture – it is often a reward for a sales team to come here. Unique to Vinexpo is that many buyers will leave half a day free in their schedule for looking around, rather than cramming their whole visit with fast, short meetings. This is why I have always come here.

Photo: Rémi Marlin, General Manager, Vignerons de Buxy