Ecological viticulture. An alternative to conventional viticulture.

What is organic viticulture?

The organic production of the vine considers a group of techniques for managing the soil, the vineyard and the environment, which must be considered by the producers if they want to be successful in the management of an organic vineyard .

What advantages does organic viticulture offer us?

Ecological viticulture is not only the replacement of prohibited synthetic chemical products (pesticides and fertilizers), by others allowed by ecological production. Changes in the production system must be more profound, establishing varieties adapted to local agroclimatic conditions, improving the natural fertility of the soil and increasing the biodiversity of the system, in such a way that beneficial natural ecological processes such as those that allow nutrition are enhanced. adequate plant, biotic and environmental regulation.
For the farmer or producer, organic viticulture means an increase in added value, with greater respect for the environment and a reduction in chemical products. For the consumer , being able to have products obtained without any type of pesticide or artificial fertilizer.

Recommended practices in organic viticulture.

The norms of organic  vineyard production prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers of chemical origin, therefore, in organic production different management strategies are developed to comply with the regulations.
For organic viticulture these strategies are based on:
  • Fertilization with materials of organic origin such as compost, green fertilizers, harvest residues …
  • The control of pests and diseases is carried out with the correct nutrition of the plant, creating conditions for the development of insects and other beneficial organisms that control them or prevent the proliferation of pests and diseases of the vine, although methods of physical control (capturing insects with a trap) and with permitted substances (sulfur).
  • The increase in diversity within and around the vineyard, with different plants that stimulate the diversity in general, of beneficial organisms in particular, and promote favorable climatic conditions for the development of the vineyard.
  • The control performance for quality fruit.
  • A series of careful handling, during the production, harvest and winemaking process.
It should be noted that increasing diversity is one of the most important tools the winegrower has to grow organic vine. The most important diversification technique is the use of plant covers between the vine lines. The plant cover has multiple functions, as we saw in the post on plant covers, it improves the soil, provides nutrients to the vine, increases the natural enemies that control pests and improves the vineyard environment. This diversity is completed with the presence of suitable weed and shrub flora hedges.

Control of pests and diseases in organic viticulture.

The ability of the vines to cope with pests and diseases will largely depend on the nutrition and environment in the vineyard. That is why organic matter will be used and a fertile, alive and well structured soil will be maintained. Obviously, it is also important to achieve a balanced, well aerated vine, through different operations such as planting frames, pruning, thinning, etc.
As for the final quality of the wine , it will depend a lot on the concentration of sugars in the grapes, the abundance of yeasts and autochthonous bacteria that are on the fruits at the time of harvest, as well as the care taken when harvesting. and transfer of the bunches to the wineries.

Ecological viticulture. Soil disinfection.

The approach for an ideal organic viticulture is to work on a land that has never been planted as a vine or that has been without a vine for at least 5 years, although in most cases, this is not possible and the winegrowers are obliged to plant the vine. vineyard without hardly leaving the land fallow.

The main problem that arises is the presence of nematodes in the soil . In addition, these nematodes can affect the development of young plants when they are found in significant quantities in the soil.
A non-ecological solution to this problem could be the chemical treatment for the disinfection of the soil through fumigation or dispersion of granules. This process has certain limitations, since it is inefficient at a certain depth of the soil and in clay soils, the application conditions are limited. The cost is high and has negative impacts on the environment.

An economical and suitable solution for organic viticulture to limit the presence of nematodes is to carry out a moldboard work on the ground in midsummer (if the type of soil allows it) at about 40 – 60 cm. Nematode populations are most important at this depth. The sun’s rays and the heat allow to burn a good part of the population.

You may also be interested in some of these viticulture articles published on this blog:

Ecological Viticulture. An alternative to conventional viticulture.

Integrated Viticulture. A model of sustainable agriculture.

Precision Viticulture. Basic notions.

Biodynamic Viticulture. The evolution of organic viticulture?

Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture.

Dr. Sofia Seccombe

My name is Dr. Sofia Seccombe, and in this small section, I want to tell you who I am and why I started this project. I don't want to bore you, but I consider that it is an important part of godlywine. It serves as an exercise in transparency so that the person who reads the articles can be sure that the information is reliable.

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