Winemaker Ditches Organic Farming, Says Other Methods Are Eco-Friendlier

© David Noton Photography / Alamy

By Jane Anson Posted February 09, 2016

A winemaker in France's Vaucluse has become the latest producer to withdraw his wine from organic certification, citing concerns over the environmental sustainability of organic winemaking.

This piece originally appeared on Decanter.com.

Sebastien Vincenti, of Domaine de Fondrèche in Mazan, AOC Côtes de Ventoux, has been certified organic with French body Ecocert since 2009. But, that is about to change.

"In order to remain coherent with the organic philosophy that I believe in, I have to follow certain conditions," Vincenti told Decanter.com.

"I believe now that certain synthesized products applied at the right moment may offer better environmental protection than some organic alternatives, but these are all banned by Ecocert."

His move follows news of a dip in organic certification in France and as the country’s biggest organic wines trade fair, Millésime Bio, gets underway in Montpellier in Languedoc-Roussillon.

"I will reduce the use of copper build-up in the soils by changing my treatment programme to one that is more balanced between organic and synthesized products," said Vinceni. "The amount of oil used for tractors will also be halved, as I will not need to apply the treatments so regularly, so I will be lowering my carbon footprint."

Other producers have also recently chosen to drop their certification due to environmental concerns.

Benoit Braujou, of Domaine Fons Sanatis in the Hérault area of Languedoc, left Ecocert after six years, telling French magazine Réussir Vigne, "using 5kg of copper a year per hectare just seemed crazy."

Monty Waldin, a Decanter contributor and organics expert, said this argument could be misleading.

"Many organic vineyards use no copper at all, and limits are lower anyway for organic than conventional vineyards. Residue can be further reduced by working hard to bring life to your soil by use of compost and cover cropping."

In October 2015, Ecocert announced a slight dip in numbers of organically certified vineyards in France, but ascribed it to a "normal stabilization."

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