When I answer the question, “What do you do for the environment?”
I always feel as though I’m being asked to confess that I’ve donated to charity. Out of a sense of propriety, I’d rather not answer, for it’s something that one does but doesn’t boast about.
However, how can you not answer when the asker is insistent? Although my winery isn’t organic, biodynamic or bio-anything, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care how I carry out my work.
When a vineyard or cellar technique with low environmental impact allows me to obtain the same qualitative results with acceptable economic conditions, then there’s no reason not to use it.
It’s not a religion for me, merely agronomy, which I learnt at college.
Each technique is filtered by my knowledge, experience and common sense, without ever losing sight of the oenological goal that I have set myself.
As it appears to be essential I will provide a list here: I don’t spread “poisons” unless strictly necessary, and if they are required I use high-efficacy active ingredients with low toxicity; I practise sexual confusion; I use leaf thinning to avoid excessive dampness; I don’t use more than 6 kg/hectare of copper, as required by law; I haven’t used anti-botrytis fungicides for years, because they’re completely useless; I apply treatments after, and not prior to, manual vineyard operations; I respect low-yield periods; I carry out only one insecticide treatment per year, which is required by law; I’ve used treatments against downy mildew just twice during the past ten years; I don’t use copper on susceptible grape varieties; I choose fertilisers with organic matter derived from peat and not from leatherworking by-products; I use approximately 1.5 litres of glyphosate per hectare as a herbicide under the rows; I don’t apply acaricides; I use agronomic techniques to improve soil vitality; I use drip irrigation in order to save water; I use natural phytoseiid predators; I thin the berries; I tend my vineyards like gardens; I use cultured yeasts, sulphites and bentonite, but nothing else; I use lightweight bottles and age the wine in large barrels; my winery is self-sufficient in heating and electricity terms, using renewable energy sources thanks to two solar power systems and a woodchip-burning furnace, and much more besides…
This may not seem much to many people, but for me it represents over a quarter of a century of work, which has been made possible not only by my commitment, but also by the local presence of a supervised control service managed by the protection consortiums. Environment
These are all well-known arguments to those familiar with the subject; consequently there is no need for further details, also because these would necessarily take us into the realm of philosophy, whereas I’m more interested in the practical side.