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

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Orange vines@Saumur: a curious way to celebrate biodiversity

Use of weedkiller@Château de Saumur

The Syndicat of Saumur-Champigny producers is proud to be championing biodiversity:

'Le vignoble de Saumur Champigny est la première Appellation Contrôlée à s’être engagée dans un programme de biodiversité sur l’ensemble de son territoire. Les viticulteurs se sont unis pour implanter un réseau de Zones écologiques Réservoirs, à travers les neuf communes de l’appellation. Les Zones Ecologiques Réservoirs ou ZER sont des espaces « non cultivés », sans apports de pesticides et de fertilisants (haies, abords enherbées, murets…).'
See here.

Unfortunately they appear not to have told La Ville de Saumur, who I gather look after the vines right of the Château beside the parking where many thousands of visitors stop during a year. Here on strips close to the vines weedkiller has been used as the grass has that tell-tale agent orange colour. I hope the Syndicat will point out to La Ville that while they may think that using weedkiller makes the vines look neat and tidy, it is counter to the message of biodiversity that the local producers are trying to promote.


Luc Charlier said...

Jim, you are right about this orange colour not being the best of propaganda for an “environment-friendly” approach of grape-growing.
Still, using weed-killers between the vines and leaving vegetation alive between the ranks is already a better approach altogether than ... “la culture nue” which one so often notices.
I imagine the “employés municipaux” of Saumur have other businesses to attend than just keeping the vineyard of the city tidy.
Here, there are two aspects at stakes: (i) the deleterious effect of the pesticides in general and (ii) the quality of the biological life in the soil. Spraying “between the vines only” means a lot less product than an “overall eradication” (already an improvement), and leaving the middle of the rank untouched preserves biodiversity.

Jim's Loire said...

Luc. It is the fundamentals that are important here. These you nail in your first sentence. The other technical details are irrelevant here.

I don't know how many visitors the Château de Saumur attracts a year but it must run into many thousands, so the impression created here is very important. This ought to mean that this is certainly no place to use weedkiller in this small plot of vines.

Luc Charlier said...

For once, you are more radical than I. But your point is well taken.