Maintaining the vineyard and going organic
As is the case all over the world grape vines need preventative maintenance against disease and pests. This primarily involves spraying of chemicals. The two types of mildew (fungi) require spray treatments soon after bud burst to just before the grapes change colour (verasion). Pest treatments are much less frequent for Maine Gazin although some are mandatory (Flavescance Dorée) to prevent phylloxera and another for the worm that bores into the grapes causing bunch rot (verre de grappe de raison).
Weed treatments are also common although the EU is trying to ban some of those including glyphosate (Round up).
After a year of outsourcing the spraying operation Geoff & Marion began researching the switch to organic farming. Opinions varied so much, including amongst the experts.
It essentially means working the soil more and with different tilling equipment to eliminate weed spraying, switching to organic approved chemicals for mildews and pests. The frequency of organic spraying can be much more often depending on the season. Main Gazin adopted the organic approach for the vineyard and wine making throughout 2019 to see if it could be managed. In August the formal start to certification was commenced with Ecocert. This is a 3 year process to accreditation with countless audits for conformance.
During the year a new tractor was purchased and a sprayer acquired in joint ownership with a neighbour who is already organic.
Going organic is not a cheap option but Geoff & Marion believe it is the right thing to do…if we can.