EU May Ban Copper Sulfate

And now there’s this . . .

Copper Sulfate has been and continues to be used by organic and biodynamic farmers to minimize mildew. It’s been used for well over 100 years.

If the EU bans it, there will have to be alternatives - or these farmers may have to move away from what they’ve been doing. A complicated issue indeed.

And note that copper sulfate is used in the winemaking process at times as well to minimize ‘reductive issues’. There is a legal limit to the amount of copper a wine can have - but the government does not require us to test for it. Imagine that.

But if you ship wine outside of the US to places like Canada, tests are required. So interesting . . .

If vines can pick up terrior from rocks the vines grow in, I am sure they are also picking up the copper sulfate as well and this is going in your glass.


Wineries need to test for the levels of copper in their wines in the EU, as I mentioned above. As far as the ‘terroir’ question goes, the jury is still out . . . [snort.gif] [swearing.gif] [soap.gif]

This is fascinating. It would effectively ban organic viticulture in many European regions, right? Larry, I understand what you’re saying about alternatives, but really, there are no alternatives, so unless they’re going to permit some other compound that is also not truly organic, I think that’s where it will stand. I strongly doubt that this legislation will pass because of all of this.

Oh, and terroir from rocks… rolleyes

Here’s an older article by a well known viticulturist in Portugal.

Thanks for linking that, Eric. It’s such a great article. Even the idea of eliminating the use of copper sulfate, which would probably be appropriate, could hopefully spur a lot more thought and conversation about the whole idea of organic farming. The thought that lutte raisonée<organic<biodynamic is something I see repeated so often and yet really makes no sense.

Sort of, but not really. Copper sulfate doesn’t readily leech out of the soil, so with continued use it will build up and up and up. At a certain level of use its effect will be on par with a conventional level of other toxins and with passive negligent soil management. Regular heavy use will, at some point, do massive long-term harm to the soil web. That will have a big effect on terroir and bring other problems (like shorter vine life and fermentations that routinely require nutrient supplementation and other measures).