This is the week without pesticides – ‘semaine pour les alternatives aux pesticides’. It is a generous week running from 20th – 30th March.
The ‘semaine sans pesticides’ falls at a good time for now is moment when many of the vignerons in eastern Touraine and elsewhere in France apply weedkillers to their vineyards. Obviously it is far from just vignerons who use weedkillers – substantial quantities are used by gardeners, especially on paths and driveways etc. But this blog is about wine.
The notorious Agent Orange
It also has to be admitted that it is easy for a journalist to criticise – to deplore the high number of vineyards that are heavily treated with weedkillers and which have no life apart from the vine. All trace of biodiversity has been eradicated. A journalist doesn’t have to make the sums add up – to ensure that the family vineyard makes a profit. Furthermore we are not faced with the rapacious demands from supermarkets in France and elsewhere seeking to provide cheap wine for their customers who have become addicted to unrealistic bargains.
However, there has to be a better way than this:
Is there life on Mars?
The indiscriminate use of weedkillers destroys the natural balance and inevitably leads to the need to use pesticides because there is no natural balance remaining – nothing to encourage predators that would help to keep harmful pests at bay or at least in balance. Furthermore it is possible that there is a relationship between the widespread use of weedkillers and the vine disease – esca.
It also encourages erosion even on a slight slope for there is nothing to absorb or hold back the rainwater.
Two fine articles from Bertrand Celce (www.wineterroirs.com) http://www.wineterroirs.com/2010/02/herbicides_era.html
Erosion, even though the slope is gentle
(c) Jim Budd