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

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The dead vineyards of Touraine

La lutte sans raison

Just no life .....

Only the vines are alive here!
Terroir? What terroir?

Although much of the Touraine countryside is bursting with spring flowers and blossom, too many of the vineyards in the Cher Valley are dead – showing no sign of new life apart from the now swelling vine buds. All other vegetation has been blitzed by weedkillers. No biodiversity, the balance of the vineyard destroyed and no possibility of encouraging the beneficial insects that can help to keep pests in check.

It is, of course, easy to point the finger at the producers but prices are low in Appellation Touraine, especially if you sell your grapes to a cooperative and using weedkiller is cheaper than letting the grass grow and mowing it or cultivating – and cultivating may be almost as destructive. See here.

Also this scorched earth policy can help to protect against frost as grassed-over vineyards retain moisture and may well increase frost damage.

Close up of a dead vineyard
'Agent orange': this year's fashionable weedkiller colour?

Bursting buds in a dead vineyard

Another approach – spring flowers even if they are mainly dandelions

A different approach
Blaze of white away from the vines


ned said...

What a sad sight! That this is considered appropriate by anybody is utterly mystifying.

Jim's Loire said...

I agree Ned – very sad and short term thinking. Unfortunately weedkiller is the cheap and easy option in a region where prices are low.

Mark said...

Agreed with Jim that unfortunately it's economic matters that seem to dictate this practice. Low prices mean that there is not the cash to spend on the labour neccessary to work in another way. Most vignerons who sell to the co-ops are one man bands and need to exploit 8ha plus to scrape a living.
On another subject I understand that like 2007 and 2008 this year will have 13 full moons. Means a wet summer I'm afraid !

Jim's Loire said...

Mark. Hopefully 2009 will be an exception to the 13 moon rule. Having been to Saumur today, it is very clear that there they can afford a more organic way of working.

laurent saillard said...

How awful! Readers need to know that the grapes harvested in these vineyards are full of chemicals that you'll find in the wines.
Read last year study published by PAN:
In fact since there is no life in the juice coming from these grapes more chemicals need to be added to it in the cellar in order to make it an alcoholic beverage.
And lets call it what it is: a manufactured alcoholic beverage not wine.
We are all responsible for this: the conventional winemaker for having the pretention of making wine; the natural winemakers for not being able to speak with one voice on the matter; the consumer for believing that what he is buying is wine and the critics, the "professionals" for making a living on these lies.
Enough! Who are we kidding here?

Jim's Loire said...

Many thanks Laurent – have posted new pictures of 'agent orange' vineyards in Saint-Georges.

Jim's Loire said...

Laurent. Do you know what the product is that produces this orange coloured grass please? Thanks Jim

Igor said...

I assume it's just Roundup or any weedkiller which contains glyphosate. Actually, I think it's just the colour of the weed without its
chlorophyll. But I'm sure it's not "Agent orange" which is 2,4-D... even if it's orange...

And about the PAN study, you can't rely on.

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