Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Blitzed in Anjou, too

Apparently the grapes from this spectacular but blitzed vineyard go to a leading sparkling wine producer in Saumur
UNESCO World Heritage site!!

Three photos from vineyards at St Georges des Sept Voies (near Gennes on the D751 road to Saint-Jean-de-Mauvrets and towards Angers) have also been blitzed with weedkiller. Some have this year's fashionable orange colour – great for punks' hair but not for vineyards..........

Photos: Cathy Shore


ned said...

I'm speechless that this is business as usual for so many? In the jardin that is the Loire! When we're seeing such a resurgence in environmental awareness.

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Ned.

There are actually a substantial number of organic and biodynamic growers in the Loire but equally as you can see others prefer the widespread use of weedkillers.

Georges Meekers said...

I have posted some pictures of Gellewza and Girgentina vines (in Malta) which are literally ambushed by weeds.
It's a rather different spectacle.
You find the pictures on my facebook page, should you wish...

Mark said...

Many of the vineyards pictured in Jim's blog supply grapes to the local co-operative which sells wine in bulk from €1.30 a litre. Much of the clientele for this wine is an ageing rural population with annual gross annual income of less than €8,000. A bottle of wine made by lutte raisonee methods costs minimum €3.50 a bottle. Organic wines upwards of €7 a bottle. Fine for the middle classes and well-to-do tourists but do we really want to deprive people of the pleasure of a daily glass of wine or two ? I think we need to inject a bit of realism into this interesting debate.

ned said...

I'm certainly not insensitive to the needs of the low or fixed income folks. Are the cost differences you mention directly connected to extra labor? I have to express skepticism that this is the only possible way to produce low cost grapes. Then there is the direct cost vs the real cost, for example, the cost of a gallon of gas does not reflect the true cost to society and the land.

Igor said...

Well, you're right Ned but who has to pay the extra costs ?

Jim's Loire said...

Mark and George. Thanks for your comments.

Re injecting realism: While I agree that some of the vineyards featured go to the local cooperatives to supply an aging population with affordable wine, the area weed killered is much larger than this.

The vine disease Esca has become a major problem here particularly affecting Sauvignon Blanc. The development of esca may have been precipitated by the use of systemic that destroyed the beneficial fungal material around vine roots allowing malignant fungi to take their place.

Mark said...

Jim, I think the jury is out on the Esca question. Certainly the 2004 study in the Midi-Pyrenees (quoted on the IFV site) found that the viticulture practiced appeared to have no effect on the spread of this disease.

Jim's Loire said...

Mark. I suspect that there is probably some more recent research since 2004 and any link may well not have been yet been proved.

If all the heavily blitzed vineyards of St Georges are used to make wine for the elderly, there must be huge number of elderly people there or they are very thirsty.

Mark said...

I'm by no means defending the wholesale blitzing of the local vineyards and do agree that it would be preferable if everyone followed organic principles. I was just trying to put these practices in their economic context because unfortunately we do live in a world where money calls the tune. There's a quite interesting study by the Chambre D'Agriculture of Maine & Loire which analyses the cost of a bottle of wine from production of the grapes through vinification to commercialisation. In the example they have chosen (based on a real case) the cost of a bottle of wine is €2.26. So evidently where the producer receives much less than that corners will have to be cut - whether that is use of weedkillers, fertilisers or mechanical harvesting. This probably explains the €3.50 starting price range for wines made by "lutte raisonee" methods.
And I do know some very thirsty old folk !

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Mark. Will have a look at the study. Is it available on line please?

Mark said...

Sure Jim -
There is a mention in one of the other posts that the cost of producing a bottle of SB in the Cher valley is €2.45

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Mark.