There are many reasons to use an organic regime in the vineyards in an environmentally friendly way, I am though doubtful about the elimination of sulfites from the cellar
The main reason to cultivate a vineyard in an organic or biodynamic way is the grape growers love for his plants and his wish to see them in a perfect equilibrium. In a way a similar sentiment as for a child. To have healthy vines, able to react to the sun and to the adversities of the climate and so can give grapes of superior quality, this should be the second motive. In fact a study carried out by the prestigious University of California Los Angeles UCLA (it has 3 Nobel Prize winners among its past students) upon a sample of 74.000 wine tasted by Wine Advocate-Robert Parker, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator revealed that the average rating on red wines made with organic and biodynamic grapes is 5,6 points higher with respect to the rest. An advantage that decreases by 1,3 points for white wines. A powerful sign that ought to be considered with attention by those who aim at producing excellent wines.
The reasons to choose a regime that respects nature are also dictated by the desire that one has to live in the midst of the vineyards . Without touching the situations where there is true pollution such as those shown on the France 2 Cash Investigation program in February 2016 in the Bordeaux area, where the analysis carried out on kids hair revealed the absorption of prohibited and cancerous substances, there is a new awareness regarding the environment that pusher all of us to live in a healthy ambiance. Environments which have been put at risk by farming practices where chemicals are used even in a controlled manner such as the “lutte raisonnée”.
In the same way, whoever practices organic farming, realizes that it is not enough for u s to be able to deliver a natural environment to future generations, we must do more. Copper is a polluting metal, its use in the Vineyard must be diminished. It is on the other hand necessary to learn how to use mushrooms, mating disruption, increase in the predator population already present I the environment to create biological to reinforce the plants’ “immune defenses” and also turn to other natural methods like using seaweed. Obviously there is a down side: with respect to agriculture based on chemicals, the tractor travels much more frequently up and down the Vineyard, and so produces more CO2. This must be thought out. During the Académie Internationale du Vin Symposium in Losanna, last December, Claude and Lidia Bourguignon initiated an alert, because during the last rainy vintages, some grape growers abandoned organic farming because of too much work with the tractors. Something else that makes one think.
I have not wanted the organic/biodynamic regime in the cellar, because like everyone else who makes wine keeping it at length in barrels, I have some doubts, and would like to study better the added sulfites. I have tasted too many bottles with evident defects to hurry into a decisoin. I do not complete accept Luigi Moio’s opinion when he says that aromatic wines such as Riesling can do without sulfites during barrel aging, but I am sure that steam, sterilizing lamps and every other practice to clean barrels are not sufficient to protect wines with high ph such as those produced since 2000.Consider that in Montalcino up until 30 years ago only the old dirty barrels had a risk of brettanomyces, because it was the grapes acidity that defended the wine, now on the other hand the smelly factor is a constant threat.
At the end of this reflection of mine, I wish to make an appeal for us to go back to the old system that permitted us to signal on the lable “from organic vineyards”, those who cultivate like I do in a sustainable way, but use sulphur in the cellar, result in being penalized too much and see all their efforts disappear