The healthier the vineyard, the better the fruit and of course the better the wine.
No agricultural product reflects the nature of the soil, more than wine. In other words, by nourishing the land and treating it with respect it will give its finest fruits, which in turn makes the finest wine. The roots of organically grown vines penetrate deep into the soil, sometimes 100 metres in every direction, where they absorb the trace minerals and find the water that helps a wine express the purity, intensity and character of the local ‘terroir’. The French word ‘Terroir’ is an expression of all the natural influences on the vine, be that the local microclimate (sun, water, etc.), the soil and even the influence the farmer has on his crop.
Soil is a breathing living thing. The microorganisms living in the soil produce the nutrients that all plants need to grow. When pesticides are used, they not only kill the targeted insects, but it also kills the life in the soil itself. This destruction makes the vines weaker and they become dependent synthetic fertilisers.
As these fertilisers tends to sit near the surface of the soil, so the vine doesn’t sink it roots very far. As a result, the vine has little strength as it’s not rooted deeply in the soil, and becomes more susceptible to disease which means more chemicals are needed for survival, and the vicious circle continues. Then as the soil degrades, erosion becomes a problem as there is nothing holding the soil together anymore.
It is true that organically grown vines tend to produce lower yields than chemically promoted vines, however organic vines produce wine of a greater quality, with a better concentration of flavour. In addition to this, organic farming promotes biodiversity and respects the local ecosystems by not just looking at producing a single cash crop. Overall, organic agriculture and production helps us to protect and sustain the land and the environment for future generations.
Pesticides are also known to be Cancerogenic. It’s shocking to discover that mass produced wines can have over 40 times the level of pesticides allowable in water. Recent statistics show that the largest occurrence of cancer in any French occupation are vineyard workers – potentially something to do with the fact pesticides are sprayed sideways and into the air, not just onto the ground. Fertilisers and pesticides also tend to leak into local water supplies, and as dead soils are prone to soil erosion as they have nothing to hold them together.
Not only is organic agriculture better for wine, it’s essential for improving our own health along with the health of our planet