Louis Roederer CEO Frédéric Rouzaud, Prize judges and LUX contributing editors Maria Sukkar and Maryam Eisler, Prize winner Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, judges Carrie Scott and Brandei Estes, and LUX proprietor Darius Sanai
Philanthropists, art collectors and sustainability leaders gathered in London for the awarding of the inaugural Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability, masterminded by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai under the aegis of Louis Roederer CEO Frédéric Rouzaud
Sir Guy Weston, Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah and Ina Sarikhani Sandmann
Maria Sukkar and Maryam Eisler
Simon Leadsford, Richard Billett and Olivia Capaldi
Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah and Frédéric Rouzaud
Lady Alison Myners, Maryam Eisler and Samantha Welsh
Louis Roederer CEO Frédéric Rouzaud on why sustainability and biodiversity make Cristal better
Frédéric Rouzaud is the seventh- generation scion of the Louis Roederer champagne house, which also owns celebrated wineries, including Château Pichon Comtesse in Bordeaux, Domaines Ott in Provence and Diamond Creek in Napa, California. The jewel in the family crown is Cristal, probably the world’s most famous champagne, as once drunk by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
In an interview before the event, Rouzaud said that art has been woven into the DNA of his family business and that he sees contemporary photography as an important element of that. To combine art and sustainability, as Louis Roederer does with this new prize and other long-running collaborations in France, is a logical combination.
For Rouzaud, sustainable farming methods are not a fad or technique imposed by environmental constraints: rather, they make wines and champagnes better. Cristal, for example, is produced entirely from grapes farmed biodynamically and organically. “This brings life back to the soil and environment, and also brings more dimension and pixels to the taste and beauty of the grapes, and so, of course, to the wines,” he says. “It is very important for that reason.” Having moved to sustainable farming methods, it is impossible to imagine going back. “I was so impressed by the results that we cannot go back,” says Rouzaud. “It’s a big step in the expression of what can be a champagne.”
Another buzzword is biodiversity, and for Rouzaud this is an equal part of the virtuous circle. “Sustainability is important, but it is also a question of biodiversity,” he says. Instead of using genetically manipulated vines that are guaranteed to resist disease, which he says are “not very interesting in terms of taste”, the team works with natural stock and takes care to look after the whole ecosystem. “It means we try to preserve the very uniqueness of our terroir, which is not only the chalky soils but also the biodiversity of the vines. That is important for vineyards, of course, but also for vegetables, for fruit. We have a huge potential to preserve the planet and be sustainable by preserving the taste of things and fighting against standardisation of things, because otherwise it would
be the end of the world. A big part of sustainability is biodiversity.”
A toast, then, to how art, sustainability, biodiversity and fine wines can all help each other.
Darius Sarai, Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah and Frédéric Rouzaud
Maryam Eisler and Angela McCarthy
The shortlisted works of the Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability
The awards ceremony for the Prize was held at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square
Hoda Shahzadeh and Candice Tucker
Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah and Jasper Goodall
Find out more: louis-roederer.com
This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX