Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

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John Morris
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Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#1 Post by John Morris » March 5th, 2019, 8:05 am

Interesting data published today by the American Association of Wine Economists:



https://www.wine-economics.org/about/downloads/
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#2 Post by Ron Slye » March 5th, 2019, 8:16 am

Ugh. Thanks (?) for posting this. Seriously, this is very interesting. And somewhat surprising given the general assumptions concerning New World (particularly Cali) versus Old World with respect to such things.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#3 Post by John Morris » March 5th, 2019, 8:24 am

You assumed more pesticide usage in Europe? I guess my assumption was just the opposite. There's more huge scale grape farming in the US, and there is still a lot of vineyard land in Europe that's been in the family for centuries and is managed quite conservatively.

In general, there's a pretty high level of environmental awareness in Europe. Witness the ban on GMO crops. Regular supermarkets in the UK had organic sections 20 years ago -- long before those became common here. Not to mention the whole biodynamic thing.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#4 Post by Markus S » March 5th, 2019, 8:27 am

Make Monsanto proud!

John, you see that piece somewhere recently about glyphosate levels in wines? Even organics can't rid themselves of it.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#5 Post by John Morris » March 5th, 2019, 8:31 am

No, don't know about that.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#6 Post by Alan Rath » March 5th, 2019, 8:40 am

There is huge acreage that is not a source of fine, boutique wine. Not sure you can separate the vineyards we talk about here from the much larger vineyards.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#7 Post by Frank Murray III » March 5th, 2019, 10:03 am

Fake news.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#8 Post by Chris Seiber » March 5th, 2019, 10:12 am

John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
In general, there's a pretty high level of environmental awareness in Europe.
Doesn’t California fancy itself as being so superior in that realm too?

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#9 Post by John Morris » March 5th, 2019, 11:04 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 10:12 am
John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
In general, there's a pretty high level of environmental awareness in Europe.
Doesn’t California fancy itself as being so superior in that realm too?
The population at large, perhaps, but certainly not the agribusiness industry.

I remember attending an interview of an entomologist during one of the medfly sprayings circa 1990, when the state was helicopter spraying wide swaths of residential neighborhoods to eliminate a fly that was bad for oranges. He said it was ironic because no medfly had ever been found in an orange grove. Why? Because the farmers used so many pesticides. The bug only turned up in residential areas, which hadn't been chemically treated out the wazoo. The citrus industry was so powerful that it even got Jerry Brown in his liberal first term in 1981 to spray urban areas for medflies.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#10 Post by GregP » March 5th, 2019, 11:20 am

Yes, its a problem in CA only, I guess, and judging by the price per ton in the sea of Thompson grape fields, or 3BC type wines no one here even thinks about. When was the last time anyone here bought 3BC or some such?a

https://phys.org/news/2019-02-french-vi ... ction.html

"We're going to stop using glyphosate, that's certain—it's what society wants. But it's not clear exactly when," said Bernard Farges of Bordeaux, president of the CNAOC wine and spirits association.

"We can move very, very quickly to quit using glyphosate, as quickly as we get state aid," added Jean-Marie Barillere of the CNIV national winemakers' association.
------------------------------------------

As soon and as long s the government pays for that. Yeah, I can see it happening soon. Got it. /s

Frank, in the prior thread on the subject you indicated that you were in the vineyard with some small producer in Champagne when both of you observed adjoining vineyard being sprayed. I am curious, neither of you thought that winds would not bring some of that spray over to the small vineyard you were visiting? Really? I'd bet it would test positive for whatever was sprayed that day at the neighbor's place. In smaller quantities, probably, but still. Who cares if the producer you were visiting does not use chems when his neighbor does.

Really tired of hearing this CA bad, everyone else is good mantra. Repeat it as often as you like, but then pay good attention to details before repeating it again. Why do people forget that most of what's used here in CA has been developed and used in Old World first, what's with this "I see nottin" attitude when the facts stare you in the face? Read the link posted, the French openly say that they will change AS LONG AS SOMEONE PAYS FOR IT. And I did not hear Macron so far say he will.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#11 Post by crickey » March 5th, 2019, 11:40 am

Not wine specific, but Europe in general (and France and Italy in particular) use more pesticides per arable land than the US.

http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/EP/visualize

One reason for that is, yes, Monsanto: the US uses more GMO than the EU, which reduces the need for pesticides.
Last edited by crickey on March 5th, 2019, 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#12 Post by Chris Seiber » March 5th, 2019, 11:57 am

crickey wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:40 am

One reason for that is, yes, Monsanto: the US uses for GMO than the EU, which reduces the need for pesticides.
This is true, the point of some GMO crops is to reduce or eliminate the need for pesticide treatment.

Also, many plants naturally produce their own pesticides, and their production of those pesticides may sharply increase when they are attacked by pests, and those (which of course aren't regulated or measured in any way) are sometimes carcinogenic or have other negative health consequences to the consumer.

https://archive.org/stream/DietaryPesti ... 9_djvu.txt

"When plants are stressed or damaged, such as during a pest attack, they may greatly increase their natural pesticide levels, occasionally to levels that can be acutely toxic to humans. We estimate that Americans eat about 1.5 g of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than they eat of synthetic pesticide residues."

My point only being that these issues are much more complex and intertwined than they seem from the sloganeering and posturing common to the issue from all sides.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#13 Post by Eric Lundblad » March 5th, 2019, 11:58 am

Markus S wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:27 am
Make Monsanto proud!

John, you see that piece somewhere recently about glyphosate levels in wines? Even organics can't rid themselves of it.
Glyphosate is in nearly every consumable AG product, not just wine, due to ground water in big AG areas. Things grown outside of big AG areas are much less of an issue in this regard. That's because Glyphosate breaks down into several 'inert' things once it's in the ground...but the ground can only 'process' so much, and once in the ground water glyphosate breaks down very slowly. The big AG areas use massive amounts of Glyphosate on some crops, overwhelming the grounds ability to break it down...contributing a large percent of the problem (glyphosate in ground water) in those areas. If what you consume comes from a low - moderate glyphosate usage area it won't be an issue since it's being broken down completely, in the ground where it should.

Nearly all the fine/high end wine regions would qualify as low-glyphosate usage areas, so those wines wouldn't have glyphosate in them. It's the lower end wine grown in the major ag areas that are affected. The Sierra Foothills, and other mountainous areas, are esp good in this regard (i.e. low amount of chemical cross contamination, not just glyphosate, due to ground water), since their water is completely isolated from the other Ag areas
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#14 Post by Eric S n y d e r » March 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:40 am
There is huge acreage that is not a source of fine, boutique wine. Not sure you can separate the vineyards we talk about here from the much larger vineyards.
My initial thought as well. Given how much acreage goes into bulk wine, it’s not too shocking. Another reason to support growers and wineries that charge a bit more, but do it right*

*subjective.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#15 Post by Frank Murray III » March 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Eric S n y d e r wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm
Alan Rath wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:40 am
There is huge acreage that is not a source of fine, boutique wine. Not sure you can separate the vineyards we talk about here from the much larger vineyards.
My initial thought as well. Given how much acreage goes into bulk wine, it’s not too shocking. Another reason to support growers and wineries that charge a bit more, but do it right*

*subjective.
Eric, thank you. My thoughts are the same. I won't buy Champagne anymore unless there is a practice by the winery to not use this crap. Call me dogmatic or whatever else we want, but this is my personal belief.

Greg, you are correct. It was during my vineyard walk in the Aube with Aurelien Gerbais. The adjacent vineyard was spraying and it's unfortunate that this adjacency occurs where philosophies differ. I respect Aurelien for doing away with the stuff and at least going his own way. So too has Benoit Marguet, Frederic Miniere, Cedric Mousse, Hugues Godme, Dominique Laurent....the list goes on and I am pleased to see it keep growing, too.

We can all choose to eat and practice whatever habits we wish. I keep almost an exclusively organic food supply in my kitchen, as much as I can. It may not be perfectly clean of other ground water influences but I can make an individual choice to not support brands or producers of my food who spray stuff that I wish to keep out of my body.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#16 Post by John Morris » March 5th, 2019, 12:37 pm

crickey wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:40 am
Not wine specific, but Europe in general (and France and Italy in particular) use more pesticides per arable land than the US.

http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/EP/visualize

One reason for that is, yes, Monsanto: the US uses for GMO than the EU, which reduces the need for pesticides.
Interesting. Thanks.

That would obviously be a big factor with wheat and corn. But I wonder how relevant that is to pesticide use in vineyards, which in Europe tend to be on land that's not so great for growing other things.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#17 Post by crickey » March 5th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:57 am
crickey wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:40 am

One reason for that is, yes, Monsanto: the US uses for GMO than the EU, which reduces the need for pesticides.
This is true, the point of some GMO crops is to reduce or eliminate the need for pesticide treatment.

Also, many plants naturally produce their own pesticides, and their production of those pesticides may sharply increase when they are attacked by pests, and those (which of course aren't regulated or measured in any way) are sometimes carcinogenic or have other negative health consequences to the consumer.

https://archive.org/stream/DietaryPesti ... 9_djvu.txt

"When plants are stressed or damaged, such as during a pest attack, they may greatly increase their natural pesticide levels, occasionally to levels that can be acutely toxic to humans. We estimate that Americans eat about 1.5 g of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than they eat of synthetic pesticide residues."

My point only being that these issues are much more complex and intertwined than they seem from the sloganeering and posturing common to the issue from all sides.
I wasn't championing one or the other, merely noting that there is a trade-off between GMO crops and pesticide use. European consumers seem to be much more sensitive to GMO food products than Americans, so it is not surprising to see higher levels of pesticide use. Reducing both is, of course, another alternative, but the result would be less food produced locally and either higher food prices or more imported food. There is a reason that fine wine areas have better agricultural practices, as several growers have noted in this thread: the end consumers (us) are relatively price-insensitive.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#18 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 5th, 2019, 1:30 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm
Eric S n y d e r wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm
Alan Rath wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:40 am
There is huge acreage that is not a source of fine, boutique wine. Not sure you can separate the vineyards we talk about here from the much larger vineyards.
My initial thought as well. Given how much acreage goes into bulk wine, it’s not too shocking. Another reason to support growers and wineries that charge a bit more, but do it right*

*subjective.
Eric, thank you. My thoughts are the same. I won't buy Champagne anymore unless there is a practice by the winery to not use this crap. Call me dogmatic or whatever else we want, but this is my personal belief.

Greg, you are correct. It was during my vineyard walk in the Aube with Aurelien Gerbais. The adjacent vineyard was spraying and it's unfortunate that this adjacency occurs where philosophies differ. I respect Aurelien for doing away with the stuff and at least going his own way. So too has Benoit Marguet, Frederic Miniere, Cedric Mousse, Hugues Godme, Dominique Laurent....the list goes on and I am pleased to see it keep growing, too.

We can all choose to eat and practice whatever habits we wish. I keep almost an exclusively organic food supply in my kitchen, as much as I can. It may not be perfectly clean of other ground water influences but I can make an individual choice to not support brands or producers of my food who spray stuff that I wish to keep out of my body.
Frank, I agree with you. When I purchased my property nearly 20 years ago, I was shocked to see a strip of orange and yellow around my rose bushes (and a line leading from one to another, and even across the yard to another set of rose bushes), in the vineyard, along the property line - everywhere the previous owner/property manager did not want "weeds." I knew absolutely nothing about growing roses or grapes, but any intelligent person could surmise that something was very wrong there. I was a weekender at the time, so imagine my shock and dismay to see this treatment of the land I had just purchased, when I arrived each Friday night. I put an end to that immediately, although I did not fully understand what was being used and why. It looked wrong, and it was wrong.

For years now, the fertilizer I use is organic fish emulsion. Expensive? Yes, for sure. But the vineyard loves it, and I like knowing I am doing what I can to create a product that is safer than many. I grow many vegetables, as well, and fruits. No inorganic sprays in use - and if bugs infiltrate, I remove the plant.

But the cry is out there: why does wine cost so much? Because organic farming is expensive. Check with your vegetable sources and, to the point here, with the wineries you purchase from, what are their methods of farming?
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#19 Post by GregP » March 5th, 2019, 1:48 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm
Eric S n y d e r wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm
Alan Rath wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:40 am
There is huge acreage that is not a source of fine, boutique wine. Not sure you can separate the vineyards we talk about here from the much larger vineyards.
My initial thought as well. Given how much acreage goes into bulk wine, it’s not too shocking. Another reason to support growers and wineries that charge a bit more, but do it right*

*subjective.
Eric, thank you. My thoughts are the same. I won't buy Champagne anymore unless there is a practice by the winery to not use this crap. Call me dogmatic or whatever else we want, but this is my personal belief.

Greg, you are correct. It was during my vineyard walk in the Aube with Aurelien Gerbais. The adjacent vineyard was spraying and it's unfortunate that this adjacency occurs where philosophies differ. I respect Aurelien for doing away with the stuff and at least going his own way. So too has Benoit Marguet, Frederic Miniere, Cedric Mousse, Hugues Godme, Dominique Laurent....the list goes on and I am pleased to see it keep growing, too.

We can all choose to eat and practice whatever habits we wish. I keep almost an exclusively organic food supply in my kitchen, as much as I can. It may not be perfectly clean of other ground water influences but I can make an individual choice to not support brands or producers of my food who spray stuff that I wish to keep out of my body.
Frank,

In full agreement. I was simply pointing out how some on the board usually react, mindlessly so, IMO, based on their prejudices. When you posted about your experience in the FRENCH vineyard, one of the posts immediately after, and in reaction, was "Stop buying CA wine!" HUH!?

As Eric L. pointed out, and something I wanted to point out up above as well, its not only the wind, but then soil retention of chems that eventually also leads to seepage into adjoining lands. Sure, one can try to limit it in his/her vineyard, but not always avoid it altogether. If at all, given the wide use all over the place and proximity of vineyards, in general, in any given region.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#20 Post by Frank Murray III » March 5th, 2019, 2:49 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 1:30 pm
Frank Murray III wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm
Eric S n y d e r wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm

My initial thought as well. Given how much acreage goes into bulk wine, it’s not too shocking. Another reason to support growers and wineries that charge a bit more, but do it right*

*subjective.
Eric, thank you. My thoughts are the same. I won't buy Champagne anymore unless there is a practice by the winery to not use this crap. Call me dogmatic or whatever else we want, but this is my personal belief.

Greg, you are correct. It was during my vineyard walk in the Aube with Aurelien Gerbais. The adjacent vineyard was spraying and it's unfortunate that this adjacency occurs where philosophies differ. I respect Aurelien for doing away with the stuff and at least going his own way. So too has Benoit Marguet, Frederic Miniere, Cedric Mousse, Hugues Godme, Dominique Laurent....the list goes on and I am pleased to see it keep growing, too.

We can all choose to eat and practice whatever habits we wish. I keep almost an exclusively organic food supply in my kitchen, as much as I can. It may not be perfectly clean of other ground water influences but I can make an individual choice to not support brands or producers of my food who spray stuff that I wish to keep out of my body.
Frank, I agree with you. When I purchased my property nearly 20 years ago, I was shocked to see a strip of orange and yellow around my rose bushes (and a line leading from one to another, and even across the yard to another set of rose bushes), in the vineyard, along the property line - everywhere the previous owner/property manager did not want "weeds." I knew absolutely nothing about growing roses or grapes, but any intelligent person could surmise that something was very wrong there. I was a weekender at the time, so imagine my shock and dismay to see this treatment of the land I had just purchased, when I arrived each Friday night. I put an end to that immediately, although I did not fully understand what was being used and why. It looked wrong, and it was wrong.

For years now, the fertilizer I use is organic fish emulsion. Expensive? Yes, for sure. But the vineyard loves it, and I like knowing I am doing what I can to create a product that is safer than many. I grow many vegetables, as well, and fruits. No inorganic sprays in use - and if bugs infiltrate, I remove the plant.

But the cry is out there: why does wine cost so much? Because organic farming is expensive. Check with your vegetable sources and, to the point here, with the wineries you purchase from, what are their methods of farming?
Merrill, good for you. I respect the shift you made and why you did it. I do not mind paying more for my wines if I know that there was a higher level of care used to make them, both for the people who had to work in the environment in which the grapes were grown, as well as the time and effort to care for it from vineyard to bottle.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#21 Post by Ron Slye » March 5th, 2019, 3:15 pm

John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:04 am
Chris Seiber wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 10:12 am
John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
In general, there's a pretty high level of environmental awareness in Europe.
Doesn’t California fancy itself as being so superior in that realm too?
The population at large, perhaps, but certainly not the agribusiness industry.

I remember attending an interview of an entomologist during one of the medfly sprayings circa 1990, when the state was helicopter spraying wide swaths of residential neighborhoods to eliminate a fly that was bad for oranges. He said it was ironic because no medfly had ever been found in an orange grove. Why? Because the farmers used so many pesticides. The bug only turned up in residential areas, which hadn't been chemically treated out the wazoo. The citrus industry was so powerful that it even got Jerry Brown in his liberal first term in 1981 to spray urban areas for medflies.
Oh I remember some of those stories as well. My sense is that use was as bad if not worse in the US in the 70s, 80s, 90s and, depending on where you are, beyond.

I think I was thinking of ag generally, not necessarily wine specific. I know of vineyards in Europe that have been historically very careful about such things. But I also know there is a lot of pesticide use in many parts of Europe (and yes, in part through US influence). My assumption was that today the CA boutique wineries were more careful about such things as a whole than Europe as a whole. But I think the numbers undercut my assumption -- so I am grateful that you brought this to my/our attention. Having lived a good deal overseas, I can say that I have come across poorer areas which have high quality food because they are not inundated with chemicals (sometimes through choice, and sometimes through lack of economic resources). When we were living in East Africa people would ask us if the chicken was free range -- as far as I could tell most of the animals we ate were free range -- that did not necessarily say anything about the quality of the meat!

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#22 Post by Chris Seiber » March 5th, 2019, 5:45 pm

crickey wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 12:54 pm
Chris Seiber wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:57 am
crickey wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 11:40 am

One reason for that is, yes, Monsanto: the US uses for GMO than the EU, which reduces the need for pesticides.
This is true, the point of some GMO crops is to reduce or eliminate the need for pesticide treatment.

Also, many plants naturally produce their own pesticides, and their production of those pesticides may sharply increase when they are attacked by pests, and those (which of course aren't regulated or measured in any way) are sometimes carcinogenic or have other negative health consequences to the consumer.

https://archive.org/stream/DietaryPesti ... 9_djvu.txt

"When plants are stressed or damaged, such as during a pest attack, they may greatly increase their natural pesticide levels, occasionally to levels that can be acutely toxic to humans. We estimate that Americans eat about 1.5 g of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than they eat of synthetic pesticide residues."

My point only being that these issues are much more complex and intertwined than they seem from the sloganeering and posturing common to the issue from all sides.
I wasn't championing one or the other, merely noting that there is a trade-off between GMO crops and pesticide use. European consumers seem to be much more sensitive to GMO food products than Americans, so it is not surprising to see higher levels of pesticide use. Reducing both is, of course, another alternative, but the result would be less food produced locally and either higher food prices or more imported food. There is a reason that fine wine areas have better agricultural practices, as several growers have noted in this thread: the end consumers (us) are relatively price-insensitive.
I was agreeing with you. Your comment gives a good example that the reality is a lot less simple than most people perceive.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#23 Post by Julian Marshall » March 6th, 2019, 3:20 am

Good thread - whatever the practices in California, I don't think that France will be giving lessons anytime soon!

Whilst it's true that some regions, such as the Loire, have been pioneers of organic wine for many years, others are not.

Champagne - you probably know that until the practice was outlawed in 1997, much of Champagne's vineyards were "fertilized" with rubbish, quite literally, bags of it from Paris. It was called "la gadoue". There was a great documentary made by the BBC at around that time, in which they tested the major wines for chemical residue content: they were all full of chemicals, especially Veuve Clicquot. How long does it take for soil to recover? No idea, but this article shows that the damage is still there:

http://www.vinography.com/archives/2015 ... e_for.html

Bordeaux - I posted this in a thread in October:

The good news is that producers are using a lot less chemicals than they used to. A French magazine called Que Choisir conducted an analysis of 38 CCs and equivalents last December: the wines, from 2014, contained overall 3 times less traces of pesticides than they had four years previously, with three wines totally clean - Durfort, Pontet-Canet and Clerc-Milon (since the first two are now organic, it's hardly a surprise), although some were as full of chemical residues as before - Prieuré-Lichine, Gloria, Haut-Marbuzet and Chasse-Spleen were the worst offenders apparently.
The bad news is that previous vintages probably contained a lot more. The 2013 test showed that the general level of pesticides found was 300 times higher than tap water. I don't know the details for all the wines - just one, which I imagine nobody here drinks - Mouton Cadet! The 2010 version of this little beauty contained 14 different pesticides, including one which was banned in France!

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#24 Post by Ron Slye » March 6th, 2019, 9:45 am

Thanks for the information Julian. Part of me does not want to know any of this...... I just bought some 2016 Chasse Spleen for example. Not being much of a champagne drinker I had not known about the practices there. Bordeaux I was a little familiar of some of the historic use of chemicals.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#25 Post by Julian Marshall » March 7th, 2019, 12:44 am

Ron, I try not to think too much about it myself, since I drink more Bordeaux than I should! As Frank pointed out, just a bit of wind when the neighbour's spraying would render organic practices completely pointless - and obviously enough, it's windy all the year round in the Médoc. But times are changing, for the better, so eventually, organic wine will become the norm rather than the exception.

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???

#26 Post by Nick Peay » March 7th, 2019, 10:40 am

Hey folks, looking at the chart on the original post, I feel the need to chime in: Maybe I’m missing something, but the numbers reveal that the pounds per acre of pesticide used are actually going down. While the total pounds went up from 2006 to 2010 and 2010 to 2016, the acres treated went up faster. The result: 2006 saw 3.09 pounds per acre, 2010 saw 2.95 pounds per acre, and 2016 saw 2.63 pounds per acre. While it’s true that the number of treatments per year went up, that’s not necessarily a bad thing if the total amount of pesticide per acre is lower. Am I wrong here?
And yes, the vast CA grape acreage is Central Valley commercially farmed low end stuff, so this general trend (if my math is right) might actually surprise the cynic.
Our vineyard is CCOF certified organic, we have been farming organically uncertified for years before we became certified, are far away from other vineyards or any farms. I read the news reports on the study of glyphosate residues and call me skeptical: There’s no way there’s any glyphosate in my wine given my location or any wine as Alan Ladd said located similarly distant from Ag that uses glyphosate. Only 6 wines were tested. Pretty small sample size to be meaningful…right?
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Oops!

#27 Post by Nick Peay » March 7th, 2019, 12:02 pm

....I meant ERIC LUNDBLAD of Ladd (sorry Eric!)
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#28 Post by Gabe Berk » March 7th, 2019, 1:33 pm

The Central Valley growers as a whole aren't on the Organic or Biodynamic train yet. Not even close. Occidental, yes. Ripon, no.

Considering the Central Valley comprises the majority of land and gallons of wine made, its to no surprise the organic trend isn't catching on in CA.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#29 Post by Nick Peay » March 7th, 2019, 3:00 pm

Gabe, I think the vast quantity of wine from California of concern to this Board might show a different trend. I'm just guessing here, but I think you would see a trend of organic "catching on" among these high end wines. What is surprising (if my math is right - see above) is that it would appear that the amount of pesticides per acre in the Central Valley is trending down
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#30 Post by Wes Barton » March 7th, 2019, 3:31 pm

Also, wind blown glyphosate is going to break down, if it even makes it into the soil of that neighboring vineyard. The concerning effect there is it can do a lot of foliar damage, which can hamper photosynthesis. Oh, and inhalation can cause a lot of lung damage. Commercially, you need to be certified to use the crap, and it's stressed you aren't supposed to spray in windy conditions. Of course, any dipshit can buy it at the local hardware store and spray to their heart's content - many of whom won't bother reading the warnings.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#31 Post by Alan Rath » March 7th, 2019, 4:00 pm

Soilular (I just made that up) glyphosphate isn't really a problem. It's effectiveness is through entering living, leafy plant tissue. There is a lot of research going on as to the mechanisms of glyphosphate action, and resistance by some plants. For example:

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/3/1255

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Data gone!

#32 Post by Nick Peay » March 7th, 2019, 5:34 pm

Well now it looks the table from Mr. Morris' original post has disappeared. Is it only me? Fortunately, my laptop's calculator retained some of the numbers: 2006 - 24,211,000 lbs applied to 7,842,768 acres (=3.09 lbs/ac). 2010 - 26,210,000 lbs applied to 8,874,461 acres (=2.95 lbs/ac). 2016 - 27,712,000 lbs applied to 10,533,479 acres (=2.63 lbs/ac). Not to go crazy with praising the commercial growers or anything, but doesn't this show a trend of decreasing pesticide use?
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Re: ???

#33 Post by Brian Tuite » March 8th, 2019, 6:50 am

Nick Peay wrote:
March 7th, 2019, 10:40 am
Hey folks, looking at the chart on the original post, I feel the need to chime in: Maybe I’m missing something, but the numbers reveal that the pounds per acre of pesticide used are actually going down. While the total pounds went up from 2006 to 2010 and 2010 to 2016, the acres treated went up faster. The result: 2006 saw 3.09 pounds per acre, 2010 saw 2.95 pounds per acre, and 2016 saw 2.63 pounds per acre. While it’s true that the number of treatments per year went up, that’s not necessarily a bad thing if the total amount of pesticide per acre is lower. Am I wrong here?
And yes, the vast CA grape acreage is Central Valley commercially farmed low end stuff, so this general trend (if my math is right) might actually surprise the cynic.
Our vineyard is CCOF certified organic, we have been farming organically uncertified for years before we became certified, are far away from other vineyards or any farms. I read the news reports on the study of glyphosate residues and call me skeptical: There’s no way there’s any glyphosate in my wine given my location or any wine as Alan Ladd said located similarly distant from Ag that uses glyphosate. Only 6 wines were tested. Pretty small sample size to be meaningful…right?
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#34 Post by Gabe Berk » March 8th, 2019, 8:14 am

Nick Peay wrote:
March 7th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Gabe, I think the vast quantity of wine from California of concern to this Board might show a different trend. I'm just guessing here, but I think you would see a trend of organic "catching on" among these high end wines. What is surprising (if my math is right - see above) is that it would appear that the amount of pesticides per acre in the Central Valley is trending down
You are correct that the amount of herbicide/pesticide per acre is less than it was 13 years ago. Down about 15% in fact. In 13 years, I'd of imagined the trend would be more than a 15% drop off to constitute "catching on", but that is just my opinion. Yes, the growers in the areas producing "high end" wine are much more vigilant and proactive to the world of organic and biodynamic growing. I think its great. Reality is that most consumers are drinking wine grown from grapes in the central valley where majority of the herbicide/pesticide is being used. Hopeful the see more and more a trend to organic growing!!!

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#35 Post by Julian Marshall » March 9th, 2019, 8:16 am

Interesting article in la RVF this month - because of the problematic climate conditions in 2018, which produced extensive mildew, many French producers had to choose between losing the whole crop or losing their organic certification - most chose the latter. Also, there are new rules concerning the use of copper, which is also causing problems for them.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#36 Post by Eric Ifune » March 9th, 2019, 3:29 pm

It is a travesty that copper is allowed both in organic and biodynamic viticulture. Heavy metal applications is one of the least sustainable practices in existence.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#37 Post by Nick Peay » March 10th, 2019, 9:57 am

Eric, FYI, while we do get a lot of fog and thus high humidity, when the sun does come out the humidity drops dramatically, and so the three headed monster of cool climate viticulture (powdery mildew (or oiidium), downy mildew and botrytis) becomes a two headed monster - no downy mildew! Downy mildew is the only one that is controlled by copper sprays. And much of the rest of California growing regions have less/no fog, THEREFORE, you'll generally find California organic vineyards don't have an issue with copper, don't use it (even though they can).
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#38 Post by Jim Brennan » March 10th, 2019, 10:11 am

John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
You assumed more pesticide usage in Europe? I guess my assumption was just the opposite. There's more huge scale grape farming in the US, and there is still a lot of vineyard land in Europe that's been in the family for centuries and is managed quite conservatively.

In general, there's a pretty high level of environmental awareness in Europe. Witness the ban on GMO crops.
I'd argue that is environmental unawareness. The left's version of unscientific idiocy. There is zero evidence that there is any reason to worry about GMOs.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#39 Post by Drew Goin » March 13th, 2019, 12:37 am

I questioned whether this was the best place to share this article*. I will keep my fingers crossed:


Wines & Vines Analytics
"How Organic Growers Changed Viticulture"

by Glenn McGourty
February, 2012


* It's free to subscribe in order to read the article's historical overview of a trend's growth and impact on US viticulture.

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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#40 Post by GregP » March 13th, 2019, 11:42 am

This is an interesting turn, not that I disagree in any way after talking to some of the farmers in CA: https://dobianchi.com/2019/03/12/elena- ... ate-italy/
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#41 Post by DanielP » March 13th, 2019, 11:49 am

Jim Brennan wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 10:11 am
John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
You assumed more pesticide usage in Europe? I guess my assumption was just the opposite. There's more huge scale grape farming in the US, and there is still a lot of vineyard land in Europe that's been in the family for centuries and is managed quite conservatively.

In general, there's a pretty high level of environmental awareness in Europe. Witness the ban on GMO crops.
I'd argue that is environmental unawareness. The left's version of unscientific idiocy. There is zero evidence that there is any reason to worry about GMOs.
I'd say that there is some reason to be concerned with respect to crop diversity - I'd imagine that GMO crops have such a selective advantage that you risk competing out a lot of non-GMO crop genes that may prove useful under different environmental conditions. Let's not unnecessarily bring in left/right labels into this discussion, it's intellectually worthless.
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Re: Looks like the organic trend isn't really catching on in California

#42 Post by BenjaminL » March 14th, 2019, 7:19 am

John Morris wrote:
March 5th, 2019, 8:05 am
Interesting data published today by the American Association of Wine Economists:



https://www.wine-economics.org/about/downloads/
John, I'm afraid you've been misled to equate "Organic" with "No Pesticides", making your assertion the 'organic trend isn't really catching on in California' baseless. Elemental Sulfur, Copper Sulfate, Spinosad, Pyrethrin, are all organic pesticides and will be counted in those totals you posted. Its not your fault, there are many big actors (like Whole Foods) telling consumers that 'Organic Produce doesn't use pesticides' which is a lie.
California is one of the luckiest places to grow organic grapes (which I do for a Napa vineyard management company). Our Mediterranean climate allows us to spray a conventional field only 7 times, and an organic field only 14 times. In any Vit area with rain (Oregon, Burgundy, etc) they may have to spray a conventional vineyard 10 or 11 times, Organic 14-15 times.

If anybody wants to talk Glyphosate residues with a biochemist/winemaker/vineyard manager, lets start a new thread.
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