20.12.07 Bio, biodynamie, viticulture durable

We wish, like many others, to practice responsible viticulture, and this did not begin yesterday.With our domaine, after progressive adaptation and not without risks, we have ceased to use industrial fertilisers since 1987, weed killers since 1990 and insecticides since 1996. But we do not believe completely in either bio or biodynamic viticulture. Why ? Both are dogmatic approaches. They believe a priori that there are good and bad products. On the one hand, everything of vegetable origin is supposedly healthy, and conversely every synthetic or chemically purified product is forbidden. Two examples : • Pyrethrin and rotenone are natural insecticides extracted from tropical plants. Therefore they are authorised for bioagriculture. However these are insecticides just as active as others and kill both useful and harmful insects without discretion. • Copper is the principal weapon used in both bio and biodynamism against mildew, the gravest danger to vines. But one knows that an irreversible accumulation in the soil reaches toxic levels for the micro-flora. Is copper less harmful than synthetic products ? I am not sure. I am not convinced that there is a good product per se. The wrong dose of medicine can kill, while a weak dose of a poison can cure. The importance is to limit intervention to only what is vital. We must sometimes tolerate a limited presence of disease and parasites to establish a natural balance. The biological richness of the vineyards is the key to responsible viticulture. To advance we must have a better understanding of nature. The scientific approach should help us. How about the collection of sufficient funds to carry out research independent of the large chemical companies ? But that is another story...

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