Lower the copper doses or not in the vineyard?

The copper doses are a constant headache for organic growers. The French authority ANSES (a food and health authority) and the European Commission want to reduce the permitted level from 6 kilogram per hectare and year to 4 kilo The organic growers say that they are not able to cope with such a reduction.

On February 17, organic wine producers gathered in Bordeaux to discuss new technology, but also to get answers from the authorities concerning their plans for the copper levels. But they got no answers. The organic growers now fear that the uncertainty will mean that some producers will be afraid to start their conversion to organic farming. Copper is mainly used to fight the fungal disease downy mildew.

During the past eleven years organic estates in Burgundy have used an average of 4.4 kilo of copper per hectare and year. Severe mildiou years like 2008, 2010 and 2012 between 25 and 50% of the producers used more than 6 kilos. As the rules say 30 kilograms of copper per hectare spread out over five years, it is possible to go over the 6-kilo limit some years.


A distillation machine (still) in stainless steel and copper

A distillation machine (still) in stainless steel and copper, copyright BKWine Photography

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