BNIC’s “Station Viticole”

Founded in 1892 with the purpose of helping Cognac winegrowers plant vines grafted on rootstocks to replace those destroyed during the phylloxera crisis, the “Station Viticole” later became part of the BNIC in 1947. It works in conjunction with winegrowers and merchants on all aspects of Cognac production from planting vines until aging. It is also an important research institute recognized by the government, which collaborates with similar organizations in France and abroad.

Today, it is facing growing challenges in terms of the future of the Cognac region, the quality of wine spirits, and the industry’s ecological transition. In order to respond to these challenges, the R&D Unit is divided into 3 departments :

The Vineyard, Wines and Distillation


Wine Spirits


The Sustainable Development


Projects undertaken by the Viticulture Unit are listed below.

1. Guaranteeing sustainable production of high-quality grapes and wines

Grape varieties resistant to vine diseases, the future of the vineyard and production, and the quality of distilled wines were the three key projects led by the “Vineyard, Wines and Distillation” department of the BNIC R&D Unit in 2017 – 2018. The aim is to support the sustainable production of high-quality grapes, wines and wine spirits in order to meet market demand.

Plan stock plan

  • Preserving and highlighting the diversity of Cognac grape varieties
  • Creating and selecting grape varieties resistant to oidium and mildew
  • Studying old grape varieties
  • Studying foreign grape varieties

The future of the vineyard and production

  • National anti-dieback plan
  • Winegrowers as key players
  • Supplying plant stocks
  • The vineyard observatory
  • Research, innovation, and development
  • Monitoring the vineyard and harvest forecasts
  • 2017 winegrowing year
  • Ensuring good water supply

Production and quality of distillation wines

  • Producing high-quality distilled wines: wine materials and practices
  • Alcoholic fermentation, quality of the musts and distillations wines


  • Saving energy during distillation

2. Knowing and defending products – quality, safety, and authenticity

Promoting high-quality products, protecting the health and safety of consumers, facilitating access to markets, guaranteeing product authenticity: the “Wine Spirits” department of the BNIC R&D Unit features a hi-tech laboratory and is internationally recognized for supporting the Cognac industry in sharing knowledge about Cognac.

Quality of wine spirits

  • Observing the quality of new wine spirits
  • Analytical and sensory characteristics of wine spirits / Olfactometry

Consumer health and safety

  • Qualification of plant protection products
  • Action plan materials in contact

Market access, authenticity and the battle against counterfeits

  • Market access
  • Authenticity and protecting the PDO – litigation
  • Regulatory paperwork

Performance laboratory / Quality-oriented approach

  • Organization of aptitude circuits
  • ISO 17025 –COFRAC-accredited
  • Developing analytic potential
  • Standardization – expert groups

3. Sustainable development

Based on sustainable development challenges, “sustainable viticulture”, “protecting natural resources” and “climate – energy” the BNIC R&D Unit develops innovative tools to manage the industry’s ecological transition within the framework of its Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility policy.

Sustainable viticulture

  • Observatory of plant protection practices
  • Sustainable Viticulture Standards
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative

Protecting natural resources in line with sustainable viticulture

  • The Cognac framework agreement
  • The BNIC is a key player in protecting water quality

Climate and Energy

  • Carbon inventory
  • Sustainable cellars
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Recycling vineyard by-products