ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ FRANÇAIS

What is the organic wine?

First of all, we should make clear organic wine does not really exist. At least legally speaking, as long as no European legal system frames this production and determines the characteristics of this product.

On the contrary, the cultivation of the vineyard and grapes that will be used in the production of wine can be made according to the rules that are set by the directives of the European Union with regard to the production of organic farming products. This particulate form of grapegrowing is the subject of regular controls, which are carried out by an independent organisation, which guarantees and certifies the respect of European models and the organic quality of products.

The name “organic wine” does not have any legal value and does not stand alone as a sign of quality. Consequently, pending the imposition of a legal frame, it is more precise to use the expression “wine made from organically grown grapes” even if we, in every day language, have the tendency to use the term “organic wine”.

We insist on the “organic” quality of grapes and wine precisely because this so called “organic” farming is differentiated from what is said “conventional farming”. What are their differences anyway?

Organic farming, a different relation with the ground.

The organic farming differs from the conventional one because it excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, as well as the genetically modified organisms. Its objective is always the production of healthy foods, while preserving the ecosystem we cultivate, the quality of the soil and biodiversity, with respect to ecological, economical and social limits that ensure the possibility of a long lasting production. Consequently, the biological agriculture can be considered as one of the components of sustainable development.

Synthetic products: a vicious circle.

Does this mean that conventional farming is unhealthy? Apparently not. However, so long as it is supported by synthetic fertilizers and parasiticides, it results in a vicious circle which is harmful in the long run.

épandage de pesticides sur un champ em agriculture intensiveThe first stage of this vicious circle is the use of parasiticides, many times in enormous doses for the protection of cultivations from the harmful insects. These toxic and pollutant pesticides do not make distinctions: they exterminate the harmful organisms but at the same time the harmless micro-organisms that are found in the soil as well, which actively, participate in its vitality and fertility. Due to the non-stop harvest, therefore, as well as the use of pesticides, the soil is finally exhausted, its productivity falls and it becomes less and less productive.

Therefore, in order to balance this soil weakness, one approach is to use more powerful chemical fertilizers in bigger quantities. These fertilizers are often very pollutant. They induct an artificial and very fast increase of yield, which makes them more sensitive and imposes the turning to the use of other artificial products, medicines and plant health products.

This vicious circle results in the ground becoming excessively poor, almost dead, the pollution of the soil, but also the pollution of the ground water. As a result there are severe damaging consequences to the flora and fauna in the farming areas, and reduction of the biodiversity. Finally, while the maintenance of high productivity is managed, on the other hand the quality of products is very low and their tasty characteristics cease to exist. As a matter of fact, we are faced with uniformity in the appearance and taste of agricultural products, which get most of their characteristics from additional substances, and not from the soil which, with its virtues and its imperfections, gives them unique characteristics.

Methods of farming relative to those of nature.

Le meilleur des insecticides !Those who apply the organic farming reject the methods mentioned above and exclude the use of chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. They prefer, instead of them, other healthier practices, which allow the guarantee of productivity and the protection of cultivations, without attacking the environment.

une plantation d'engrais vert entre deux culturesThus the process of crop rotation allows the interruption of pest life cycles, improves the natural characteristics of the soil and the variety of its organic matter, in order to maintain its fertility naturally.

Turning to green manure between two harvests, helps nourish the soil, prevent its erosion and capture the nitric salt that is useful for the increase of the next crop. The composting allows the recycling of organic matters that will offer an effective and natural fertilizer.

Finally the biological fight is practised, during which, in order to eliminate a damaging insect its natural predator is used.

Our objective is the achievement of quality products, with real tasty characteristics that will show off the identity of their soil, always respecting both the consumer and the environment.

The foundations of organic farming.

The foundations of the organic farming are met in the work of doctors, farmers, agronomists, and mainly of the German Rudolf Steiner, who, during the 1920s, applied another way of agricultural production, that encourages the balance of the soil, promotes the autonomy of production and more generally the respect of natural balance.

However the organic farming began to really gain ground after the Second World War, mainly during the 1970s, along with the progress of ecological movement. Even if the role of biological agriculture remains in general terms limited, nowadays it is constantly developing, because of the continuously increasing demand by consumers.

Le logo européen de l'agriculture biologiqueIt is framed and identified by various international legislations. In the level of the European Union, the regulation 2092/91 comes to determine, in 1991, the rules that condition the biological agriculture of plant products. This regulation was replaced by regulation 834/2007.

In order to acquire the certification of an Organic farmer, a viticulturist, is compelled to comply with the European regulation and to accept the control of independent organisation of certification, which ensures its proper application. In Greece, two of the major organisations of certification are BIOHELLAS and DIO.

What about the vineyard in all of this?

BIOHELLASThe general principles of organic farming are applied perfectly in the grape growing: no chemical herbicides or synthetic treatment is used.

On the contrary, in order to protect the vineyard, we resort in natural and bio-degradable products, such as the sulphur for a preventive and curative treatment against oidioy, or sulphurous copper against mildew. Finally, the organic farmer often prefers to reduce the production of his vineyard, choosing to have a smaller production but better quality grapes.

What do we achieve in the end? Varieties that naturally express all of their characteristics, shaped by a soil and a climate that are unique in each region. Of course, the use of organically grown grapes is not necessarily synonym of exceptional wines. It lies in the art of the wine maker to make a good wine based on the available crop. Naturally, organically grown grapes constitute the best base for a successful vinification, and will give wines with affirmed character, worthy representatives of a land and history, as long as they will incorporate all the authentic characteristics of their region.

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