We often talk about organic wine in this area. We know how to produce organic wine and even how its service can be different from conventional wines. Today, let’s focus on the life of the organic vineyard: what is happening to him? How’s his cellar? What is there in it? Questions that we don’t necessarily ask ourselves but that allow us to get even closer to this particular profession.
The organic vineyard: what happens in the vineyard
One could easily think that there are not necessarily many differences between an organic vineyard and a conventional vineyard: this is not true! Of course, some things do not change, but a big job awaits the organic winegrower who settles in. It is necessary to produce grapes in organic farming for 3 consecutive years in order to obtain the “organic” certification.
It is not uncommon to see the winegrower choose to replant entire areas of his vineyard: his objective here is to choose plants in line with his new orientation and not the search for a high sugar content and a high degree of alcohol, as this, for example, may have been the case in the past. Some brave winegrowers go so far as to do without American rootstocks, even though they protect phylloxera.
You will not find any chemical inputs in the organic winegrower’s vineyard. He will choose only natural contact products. This means that these products will not “penetrate” the plant but will remain on its surface. The main problem with these products is that they are leachable: a little too much rain and the work has to be started again. You will therefore often see the organic wine producer at the bedside of his vineyard, when the weather is capricious. The use of these natural products is also subject to quantitative constraints, particularly with regard to copper.
The organic vine must also be ploughed from time to time. A horse can be seen walking between the rows, pulling a plough. The advantage of this practice is a limitation of soil compaction, as well as a lower fuel use if this operation was done with a tractor.
The organic vineyard: what happens in the cellar
As you know, since 2012 the regulation of organic wine has been extended to the inside of the cellars. The organic winemaker will move away from certain standards of conventional wine to seek the taste that can be given to him by his terroir. He will prefer the use of indigenous yeasts (provided by the grapes themselves) to carry out fermentation, for example.
Less chaptalization will be carried out, having a wine rich and full of alcohol is not the goal sought by the organic winegrower. It is rather on the side of the finesse and transcription of what the soil gives him, that the farmer will turn his gaze. Of course, the use of sulphur dioxide will be less, as it will be more strictly regulated than conventional wine. But it is often the case that the wine is even less loaded than the authorised dose: the organic vineyard wants the taste of its wine to be as pure as possible, as sulphur tends to reduce it. A risk to be taken if we want to achieve high objectives: that of preserving the land while offering a high quality wine!