Effort and Dedication is what it takes to produce a “Vin Bio” on an Organic Vineyard

I have failed to emphasize the most important thing about the new vineyard being created by Gilles and Clement Foussat on the lands around our house at Cantaloup/Fontvieille: it is an Organic Vineyard, and to create this requires the dedication and enthusiasm of a family owned Wine Estate such as Rose + Paul. We observe the intensive work required on the land on a day to day basis!

The most recent task has involved tractor work, harrowing between the rows of vines to keep the weeds down, and to aerate the soil. Here we see the vigneron’s view from the driver’s seat of the tractor, looking through the windscreen as the rows of vines stretch before the vehicle:

Through the tractor windscreen

The amount of organic wine-growing land is a “drop in the ocean” in France (Karlsson 2012). In 2012 only about 8% of land under vine in France was organic. However Languedoc-Roussillon, where we are based, is an important organic region. Rose + Paul’s 12 hectares being planted on our land will be average, in terms of the size of organic vineyards in France.

Organic Wines are gaining in reputation, but it is still the ecological arguments that outweigh the financial: producers are driven by the fact that it is good for the environment and that with organic wines they will make better wines. Certainly it gives the wine drinker, like myself, a great argument that every glass consumed helps the environment. It is this, and the fact that my local doctor is also a vigneron, and will never tell me to reduce my intake of wine, that contributes towards making life so pleasurable!

Organic wine-growing involves a lot more work in the vineyard. At least initially, however, the yields from the vineyard will be lower.

But what are the benefits: Huge! Artificial fertilizers, herbicides, chemical insecticides and pesticides are prohibited. So we know we will live in a progressively improving environment in which there will be an abundance of life in the vineyard. Only organic fertilization, spraying with copper/ sulphur is permitted. Other than that only natural products are allowed. So we are flying the EU flag of Vin Bio: here is the Logo Bio de L’Union Europeene, which the label of the wine will bear in 3 to 5 years time:

LOgo Bio de l UE

Acknowledgement: In this account on Organic Vineyards, and in future blogs about vine diseases and treatments to avoid these, I have drawn, and will continue to draw, on the following excellent book:

Karlsson, Britt and Per. (2012) Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking. Edinburgh: Floris Books.

5 thoughts on “Effort and Dedication is what it takes to produce a “Vin Bio” on an Organic Vineyard”

  1. Fabulous this sensitive attitude to our greater planet. I am certain the vines will be healthier and,consequently, the wine will be that much more impressive .
    May I add that we need to extend this attitude to the greater earth, and Oceans, with regard to use of plastics. And ultimately for total elimination of plastic waste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not agree more. Is there progress on organic wines in SA, or are viticulturalists in your part of the world wedded to their chemicals and pesticides? With good management, and the application of natural products, an equilibrium can be achieved on the land, so resulting in healthy vines, and a better environment all round.
      Fortunately in France there is momentum to eliminate single-use plastics. Most of our supermarkets now are reducing packaging and using only corn starch bags. This must be the future.

      Like

      1. There is not a lot of positives coming out of SA these days. However on the environmentally aware farms it is a real positive. Many wine farms are buying into this progressive thinking. The Constantia wine area was at the forefront quite some years ago. Now there are annual awards for these wineries. This is covering the broader scope of protecting the ecosystem, sustainable practices and efficient use of all resources… not only water . To quote from the Getaway magazine [Green wine or Integrated Production of wine certificate guide is incorporated in a annual awards section] iro Stellar Winery ” almost 12 000 ton annual production means not all fruit comes from Stellars own vineyards, but almost 150 independent growers with Klaas and his viticulture team ensuring they conform to EcoCert specifications”.
        This comment barely touches the awareness and developments taking place.
        For plastics we have legislation banning the thin, one use, supermarket bags. You now have to bring your own, or buy a thicker bag to be able to reuse. Still a long way to go, but the there is an big improvement. Most shops will ask if you need any additional wrapping before simply going ahead. We, and most of our friends, recycle all our waste into separate components. And many schools have fund raising program whereby collected items are recycled to reuse and generate funds.
        Many road races which supplied hundreds of plastic sachets, to use and drop, are now no longer supplying this . You have to be self sufficient, or bring your own cup. With trail runs strictly no plastic is allowed. You have water supplied and you use your own cup. Or go thirsty 🙂
        Saying that we need greater industry to come to the party in a far more meaningful way…. and soon

        Liked by 1 person

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