Saint-Estèphe: Château Lafon-Rochet is disappointed by organic farming, and is publicising it

Wednesday November 14 2018 by Vitisphere

This year, Basile Tesseron treated the 41 hectares of his Saint-Estèphe Grand Cru Classé with conventional fungicides.This year, Basile Tesseron treated the 41 hectares of his Saint-Estèphe Grand Cru Classé with conventional fungicides. - Photo credit : DR

Basile Tesseron, manager of Château Lafon-Rochet, does not do half measures. In 2010, he converted his entire property to organic without having it certified. Last February, he brought everything screeching to a halt. Why? “Copper has its problems”, he says. “It leaves residues in the soil that do not go away. As for the increased tractor usage, it leads to over-consumption of fuel. And ultimately, you have to accept crop losses”.

He ascribes his about-turn to a greater understanding. “I had associated organic products with ecology. But this is not true, they are in fact pollutants”. His back-tracking, and comments, have caused a buzz. “On Facebook, I had to contend with hateful reactions. But renowned oenologists, brokers and shippers concur with us. So do our customers, both shippers and importers,” he says. Despite this, he still advocates a “natural” approach, or failing that, one that uses non-toxic and non-polluting synthetic chemical molecules. To achieve this, he urges winegrowers to fund research. “This should not be left to the multinational agri-chemical companies. But I know it's a challenge”.

An anonymous winegrower offers another explanation: “With organic farming, yields and profitability are lower. It is understandable that he should throw in the towel.” Gwénaëlle Le Guillou, managing director of the New Aquitaine organic wine association, is categorical: “This property did not make an effort to obtain organic certification. So it has no right to comment on the subject.”

 

 

 

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