SIVCBD is the acronymn for the Syndicat International des Vignerons en Culture Bio-Dynamique or the International Syndicat of Biodynamic Wine Growers. It was founded unofficially in 1995 by fifteen French wine-growers wanting to create a Biodynamic association specific to wine-growing, and with rules–notably for the winemaking side–which offered more flexibility than those set at that time by Association Demeter France, France’s pioneering organisation certifying Biodynamic farming.

As importantly the SIVCBD’s creation was seen as facilitating promotional and press tastings of its members’ wines (Demeter farmers see alcohol as an impediment to agricultural success). The SIVCBD also sponsored scientific research into how Biodynamics can be used to counter vineyard problems such as esca or the use of copper-based sprays to counter downy mildew.

The SIVCBD was founded officially in 2001 by 31 growers, some of whom were also members of Association Demeter France. Olivier Humbrecht MW said that ‘most of the original members of the SIVCBD had never belonged to Association Demeter France, so they could not have “split”or “broken away from” Association Demeter France. The creation of the SIVCBD did not come from people leaving Demeter. The SIVCBD does not want to separate from Demeter, partly because Demeter members are the potential providers of the raw material (eg. manure) needed for Biodynamic compost and the Biodynamic compost preparations 502-507.

Status: The SIVCBD is an organisation (legally “une association 1901”) for Biodynamic wine growers who must be certified by Ecocert to Biodynamic grapegrowing standards (which replicate those of Demeter) and can use the SIVCBD’s Biodyvin logo. SIVCBD differs from Demeter in that only winegrowers are members, whereas Demeter is an association open to all forms of agriculturalists.

Certification logoWines made by SIVCBD-certified wineries carry the ‘Biodyvin’ registered trademark or logo.

Rules: In 2019 Oliver Humbrecht MW told me that Biodyvin is forbidding any merchant activity (buying in grapes of wine) taking place in the same building of a SIVCBD winery unless the purchased grapes or wine are certified either organic or Biodynamic, in the latter case either by the SIVCBD, or by Association Demeter France). Conventionally-grown purchased wines must have been made outside the confines of estates that are Biodyvin members.

Certification: From 2002 certification was introduced as mandatory for SIVCBD member wineries, carried out either by Ecocert sas France (the SIVBCD’s preferred certifier), or by other certifiers. From 2008 certification also included the winemaking side as well as all vineyard practices.

Membership: 1995 Founding year. 15 members. | 2002 20 members. | 2004 22 members (750 hectares). In 2004 six SIVCBD members were also members of Demeter: Maison Chapoutier in the Rhone, Domaine Huet in the Loire, Domaine Leroy in Burgundy, Château Romanin in Provence, Domaine St Nicolas in the Loire and Domaine Zusslin in Alsace. | 2017: 135 members (3,500 ha of vines), in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland. | 2018 137 members of which 130 are in France, 3 in Italy, 2 in Germany, and one each in Portugal and Switzerland comprising a total of 3,500 hectares (8,645 acres). | 2019 148 members, mainly from France, plus estates from Germany, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland with a combined total of over 3,700 hectares of vines. | 2020 (Feb) 160 wine-grower members, mainly from France, plus estates from Germany, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland with a combined total of over 4,200 hectares of vines.

Membership fee: Small. To cover the costs of get-togethers. Growers pay a levy per hectare but pay only pay for the first 40 hectares.

Winemaking rules: SIVCBD aims to have a winemaking standard which is flexible enough to take account of the different needs of French winegrowers according to regional variations. So Champagne producers will be allowed to chaptalise but not acidify, while growers in Corsica would be allowed to acidify but not chaptalise. These rules were still being thrashed out in 2004. The aim of SIVCBD’s winemaking standard is to encourage producers to minimise inputs. Olivier Humbrecht, who chaired the SIVCBD in 2004 says ‘if one grower is chaptalising year in year out when his neighbours in the same region are consistently making unchaptalised wines then his or her membership would be reviewed.’

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