Saved by the bell? (Or by the copper in the vineyard?)

No, more likely by copper. Many organic growers survive thanks to the permission they have to spray with copper against the severe fungal disease mildiou. This applies not least to the organic growers in Burgundy where the weather can be both cool and rainy.

Currently, organic producers in Europe are allowed to use a maximum of 6 kilo of copper per year and per hectare. But the European Commission is now discussing the possibility of lowering the limit to 4 kilos. Copper in large quantities is not good for the environment.

If this lower limit is made into law it will be difficult to grow organically in Burgundy, according to La Vigne. In 2013, the organic growers there used an average of 4.8 kg copper. The average for the last eleven years is 4.4 kg per hectare and per year. A difficult year like 2010, 50 % of the organic estates in Burgundy used more than 6 kg per hectare. This can be accepted as the rule says you may use 6 kg per hectare per year or 30 kg in total spread out over five years.

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Spraying in the vineyards

Spraying in the vineyards, copyright BKWine Photography

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