French Winemaker Drops Organic Label – for Environmental Reasons

French Winemaker Drops Organic Label – for Environmental Reasons

Citing environmental sustainability concerns, winemaker Sebastien Vincenti of Domaine de Fondrèche in Mazan, AOC Côtes de Ventoux is dropping his label’s organic certification. 
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A Philosophy of Sustainability 
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As Vincenti explains, his own organic philosophy is at the root of the decision to remove his certification, which he has held with French certifier Ecocert since 2009.
Vincenti specifically believes 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.”
Concerns over copper 
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He is particularly looking to reduce copper build-up in his soils, and his plan to do this involves a more balanced approach to organic and synthesized products. He will also be having his winery’s oil consumption, “as I will not need to apply the treatments so regularly, so I will be lowering my carbon footprint.”
Many other French wineries are turning away from organic certification, and they are all citing environmental concerns. Echoing Vincenti’s concerns about copper buildup, Benoit Braujou, of Domaine Fons Sanatis in the Hérault area of Languedoc, left Ecocert after 6 years. 
He told the French magazine Réussir Vigne that “using 5kg of copper a year per hectare just seemed crazy.”
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Other Perspectives 
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According to Decanter contributor and organics expert Monty Waldin, however, “many organic vineyards use no copper at all, and limits are lower anyway for organic than conventional vineyards.” 
Organic wineries | Learn more on Commonshare | often make use of a copper-sulfur mix to combat fungal diseases. This practice has drawn criticism from environmental advocates. However, as Waldin indicates, organic wineries are allowed lower levels of copper than conventional. Not only do many organic wineries use no copper, but it is also possible to reduce residue through compost and cover cropping. 
 

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