Readers! I am really sorry. I am so missing in action. I am putting all of my effort into my newsletter, which I hope you sign up for. Getting that up and running has scrunched me. But I'll try to stay better in touch. There are indeed stories that are more suitable for a free-for-all posting. So, stay tuned for more in the women importer series, articles on Australia and some on my time at Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne.
Like this one.
Where are you on organic or synthetic?
Last week, in the crazy warm weather in France, I randomly questioned vignerons and bureaucrats. How did they feel about the mandatory insecticide treatment to the vineyard aimed at Pierce's Disease (flavescence dorée) and Emmanuel Giboulot's refusal to spray?
A Biodynamic producer, concerned about the environment, if the Pyrévert was bad for the bees, it was bad for Manu. Even the BIVB was sympathetic to the vigneron's fight. They knew that a better course of prevention was needed, but, "Every one must do it."
I heard much frustration concerning the lack of alternative treatment research. Where were the findings in natural predators, for example. I did see, however, plenty of sceptiscm when the topic of 'natural' remedies came up, expecially about the clay and ferns used by a couple of vignerons in the Savoie.
But I did also get an earful from many about Pyrévert's damage to the environment. In specific human skin and death to bees were at the top of the list. Indeed, one could understand Manu not spraying.
Claire Naudin, a sensible vigneronne and mother to beautiful wines, has both sustainable and organic vines. The organic are in the prime real-estate of Vosne. There she sprayed the flower-based chemical. "I covered up protectively, but for days my body was covered in burns from it. In the Macon they warned people to stay inside when the vines were being sprayed, but in the Côte d'Or, there was no such warning," she told me with characteristic outrage.
She was in favor of the systemic spray she was able to use on her Haute Côte vines. "You can use less and it's not as harmful."
Claire is typical of many that choose to work in sustainable viticulture, choosing to make one chemical treatment than several for organic. But when pushed, her sympathy was still with Emfind Giboulot, who learns how much he will be fined, or whether he will go to jail, in the first week of April. The worst I heard, in fact, was that a few believe Giboulot's lawyer was a bit of an ambulance chaser. In the end, most view him as brave, and without his challenging the system there would be no effort in finding a better, more natural solution.
Claire was one who was frustrated with the lack of progress. " When I was in school, the disease was the topic of my thesis. We all knew it was coming, but did anyone do anything about it?"
So, is this disease another scourge from mono-culture? Would this exist in a world of true biodiversity? Am I being naive or shall we put back the peach trees in the vineyard? This in-breeding of vines, the same children, the same clones, close relative having sex with one another, it really---well, you know.