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Tag Archives | viticulture

Champagne bottles that are organic, "bio"

French consumers buy more and more organic wine

Organic wines are becoming more and more popular with French wine consumers. 48% of them would like to see a larger range of organic wines in the stores where they normally buy wine. The fact that the wine is organic is a buying argument for 50% of the young and 38% of the older consumers. […]

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A vine suffering from Phylloxera vastatrix

Phylloxera discovered in Washington State

Walla Walla, a well-known wine region in Washington State, was believed to be exempt from the vine louse (phylloxera vastatrix). Therefore, the recent discovery of the louse that is so dangerous to the vines dealt a heavy a blow to the wine producers. All of Washington, and especially Walla Walla, has the kind of sandy […]

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Spraying in the vineyards

Wine producers’ difficult choices among the wealth of pesticides

Wine producers are facing difficult choices today. Not least in what way they should manage the vineyard. Conventional, sustainable, organic or biodynamic? They have a variety of pesticides to choose from. More if they grow conventionally, less if they are organic. However, there are very different opinions about how dangerous these products are (e.g. glyphosate) […]

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Grapes dried on the vine due to heat, Champagne

Good quality harvest in Champagne after record-breaking summer

The harvest in Champagne was in full swing when we kicked off our autumn wine tour season with Champagne on September 11. And we mostly saw happy faces. Alexandre Penet at Champagne Penet-Chardonnet in Verzy looked very pleased when he talked about his healthy-looking grapes. Charles Philipponnat at the eponymous small prestige house in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ […]

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Chat Fou 2016, Côtes du Rhône, vin artisanal et naturel

(New?) rules for natural wines?

Natural wine is here to stay. And although the EU has said that there will be no official rules for this category, it does not prevent private groups from setting up their own. As, for example, Vinnatur in Italy (www.vinnatur.org) has done. Now Sébastien David, winemaker in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in the Loire Valley, is trying to […]

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Vineyard in Bordeaux with grass and grass removed

Corsican wine region bans glyphosate

The discussion about the future of glyphosate continues. It is very contested if glyphosate is dangerous or not at all dangerous (when properly used). In 2022, it will again be on the EU agenda, until then it is allowed. But France (at least the government, but not all farmers) wants to ban glyphosate before that. […]

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Vineyard landscape in the Languedoc

Languedoc in great need of irrigation

The department of Hérault accounts for a large part of Languedoc’s wine production. A wine production that may be in danger if they do not increase the irrigation area, they worry. At present, almost 35,000 hectares of the vineyards here are irrigated (of a total of just over 90,000 hectares). A project is now underway […]

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Grapes in a vineyard in Veneto ready for harvest

Resistant grape varieties spark debate

The vine is in many ways a robust plant that can withstand difficult conditions and drought. But it has weaknesses. One is that it is prone to fungal diseases. No vineyard can survive without spraying. Have you heard the opposite? Don’t believe those who tell you that some wine is made without the use of […]

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Frost bitten vines in springtime

Can a tarpaulin over the vines protect against frost?

The spring frost has struck again in several places in France. Warm spring weather led to an early budding but then the weather changed again, as it usually does. In the Loire Valley, they are now experimenting with a new way of protecting their vines from spring frost, which can potentially cause major damage. The […]

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Drip irrigation in a vineyard in Chile

How best to irrigate a vineyard

If drought is a recurring feature of the weather, then the wine growers become experts in handling it. This is the case, for example, in South Africa. Here they have learned how to optimize irrigation so that the vines get exactly what they need and not one drop more. Heinrich Schloms is a soil scientist […]

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A vine suffering from Phylloxera vastatrix

Phylloxera strikes in Australia

When we talk about countries with non-grafted vines, most people think of Chile, the only country in the world that is completely free from phylloxera, the small wine louse that infects the wine roots and kills the vines. But also in Australia a significant proportion of the vineyards are planted with non-grafted vines. However, the […]

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Old grenache vine

Old vines in South Africa, rediscovered and rescued

Older vines give more character to the wine, says Rosa Kruger, a well-known South African viticulturist. She is behind a project called South Africa’s Old Vines Project, which aims at finding old vineyards, vineyards that have often been abandoned. The idea with the project is to give a new life to these old vines. A […]

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Mechanical harvester straddling a row of vines

A new machine harvester for small vineyards

When some people think about machine harvesting, they often imagine big monsters that brutalize the vineyard. It is true that harvesting machines are often big machines, but they can be quite gentle to both grapes and vines. And soon there will be on the market a tiny harvesting machine, suitable for the small producer and […]

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Flowers in the vineyards in Limoux

Grass in the vineyard, yes, but which grass?

It is amazing how different vineyards look today compared to 30 years ago. Then, there was not one single straw of grass in the rows between the vines. Today vineyards are often vibrant and colourful with different plants and flowers to keep the vines company. But they also compete with the vines for water and […]

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Vineyards protected with a net against hail, Zuccardi, Mendoza, Argentina

Shading gives wines with lower alcohol

Many consumers perceive wines nowadays as more alcoholic than they used to be. This is actually quite true. This has to do with a lot of things (and not only global warming): grapes are harvested riper, wineries use better clones, consumers drink more wines from warmer climates, such as southern Italy, the New World, etc, […]

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Spraying in Clos des Goisses, Champagne

Oil spray in the vineyard to fight weeds

During our spring wine tours we have visited the small and interesting Champagne house Philipponnat. On our visit in early May we saw people working in their prestigious vineyard Clos des Goisses with knapsack sprayers on their backs. Obviously they were doing some kind of treatment. It turned out to be weed control with a […]

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CheckMate Puffer for sexual confusion

Sexual confusion in the vineyard, in a new simpler version

When we visited Château Pichon-Baron, grand cru classé in Pauillac, recently we saw a small canister in the vineyard that we have never seen before. This canister is called CheckMate Puffer and is a new way of distribute pheromones that protect against the grape worm with the method with the curious name “sexual confusion”. The […]

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Cleaning barrels with sulphur and a candle

“Organic” sulphur to be launched next year

Sulphur is something that is naturally present in our environment and it is a product that is allowed for all wine producers – organic as well as conventional – both to combat fungal diseases in the vineyard and as an antioxidant in the finished wine. However, there is a certain demand from organic producers for […]

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Marselan, recently planted vines

New grape varieties in France, some forgotten, some hybrids

Nine new grape varieties have been approved to be planted in the French vineyards. Five of them are old, almost extinct and forgotten grape varieties from the Southwest, from Gaillac, Fronton and other southwestern appellations: Bouysselet Blanc, Tardif, Verdanel Blanc, Gibert and Noual. The other four are so-called resistant grape varieties. These are new crosses […]

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Douro landscape and vineyards a rainy and sunny day

Climate change in the vineyards, is it a problem?

In late October, a conference called Tasting Climate Change was held in Canada. The subject was the impact of climate change on wine growing. An important question asked was: is it justifiable to plant vines where they have to be irrigated? Undoubtedly an interesting question. We asked ourselves approximately the same question when we wrote […]

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Vine burned by the frost in Languedoc

French wine producers’ main concerns 2018

On February 8, BIVB, Interprofession des Vins de Burgundy (BIVB), will host its annual conference, Vinosphère, to discuss the future of Burgundy. The things that will be discussed are probably high on the agenda for many other French wine regions as well. Loi Evin. This is the law that regulates what you can say and […]

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A glass of South African brandy, Alchemy of Gold

Fungus resistant grape varieties tested in Cognac

Cognac has a long-term plan to reduce the spraying in the vineyards. Currently, four different hybrids are being tested in the vineyards. All four grape varieties have good resistance to both downy mildew and powdery mildew. They also have the qualities required for cognac production, namely high acidity and low sugar content. And, not least, […]

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A vine leaf affected by mildiou

Wine myths: hybrids make poor wines

In the previous issue of the Brief. we wrote about myths in the wine world. Some of our readers have contacted us with comments. Among others, William H. Shoemaker, retired horticulturist from the University of Illinois. He wants to add the myth “wines from hybrids are inferior”. He adds: “While they may not reach the […]

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