Ecologically working winegrowers do not rely on individual measures. The total sum of all their activities has a sustainable and ecological effect and helps the vines to stay healthy.
Organic and biodynamic farming associations and EU organic farming legislation prohibit the use of synthetic insecticides, fungicides and weed control products in organic vineyards. Synthetic fertilizers are also taboo. Organic winegrowers want to protect and benefit from the ecosystem vineyard. They need healthy grapes in their vineyards to produce stable, tasty wines. Is this a contradiction? Or does it work in reality? A farm that decides to work organically is initially a so-called “farm in conversion” for three years. During this time, the winegrower already works completely according to biological guidelines, so that the ecosystem vineyard can develop. They spread organic fertilizer and protect beneficial organisms. Also important are foliage work, adapted soil work and the use of protective and invigorating broths and teas made of yarrow, horsetail or nettle. Biodynamic farms also use special preparations such as horn sicilia or cow manure at precisely defined times.
The organic winegrowers ensure airy, well-sunned vineyards by foliage work. Here, leaves and grapes can dry quickly after rainfall and thus offer the fungal spores little surface to attack.
The Ecological wine-grower also has to choose his kinds of grapes reasonably. Since nearly all traditional grape varieties are more or less susceptible to mildew diseases, organic winegrowers often supplement their classic varieties with so-called “Piwis”. These are newly cultivated, fungus-resistant vines. These are newly cultivated vines, which are resistant to fungi. “Piwi” or classic varieties - first and foremost organic wines have to taste good. The close-to-nature production helps the organic winegrowers to balance fruit and acidity in their wines and they are often surprising them with a wide variety of aromas that reflect their origin.
Since 2012, the EU has supplemented its legislation on the cultivation of organic grapes with ecological regulations for the vinification of wines in the cellar. Therefore the term "organic wine" is now officially allowed to appear on the bottles.
Fungus-resistant grape varieties
For more than 100 years, growers have been trying to cross the sensitive European vines with vine pest tolerant and fungus resistant American vines. By backcrossing with European varieties, they improved their initially less convincing taste over the years and achieved classification and approval by the European Union in 1996. These new, fungi-resistant varieties require less pest control against downy mildew and oidium.
Breeding work: manual castration (top) and bagging of the inflorescence (bottom). (unten).