Genetically modified grapes, or any other crop, is a very sensitive issue in Europe. A trial plantation of GM grapes in Alsace was destroyed by vandals. But perhaps there is a slight change in attitudes on the way.
At a wine seminar in Bordeaux recently a vine nursery man said, in response to a question on GM, that he would certainly be interested in pursuing it but that it is politically impossible at the moment. A wine producer that we recently talked to said that he thought it would be useful to look more into the benefits. E.g. it could mean that growers would have to spray less toxic chemicals on the plants – dangerous both for the environment and for the vineyard workers.
A recent article in The Economist cited some numbers that can give some perspective.
Some titbits: Use of GM plants grew with 7% in 2009. 75% of all soy beans world wine are from genetically modified plants. So GM agriculture is not really a rarity. Half of the entire world’s cotton and a quarter of all maize (corn) are GM products.
In total there are 134 million hectares of GM “transgenetic” plantations, half in developing countries. The early acceptance in India of GM cotton has transformed the country from a net importer of cotton to the world’s biggest exporter.
Read more on www.economist.com
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