France’s wine regions criticise the drop to 4 kg/ha/year for copper usage spread over 7 years

Monday December 03 2018 by Vitisphere

 To avoid a deadlock, France will launch a national copper plan in early 2019. To avoid a deadlock, France will launch a national copper plan in early 2019. - Photo credit : INRA

Even if it means being considered a killjoy, the French wine industry is not feeling smug about the November 27 vote by the European Commission on the EU’s renewed approval of copper. Far from it - the recently voted compromise has prompted sighs of disappointment and not satisfaction throughout France’s wine regions. From 1 February 2019, European farmers in general, and French winegrowers in particular, will see their use of metallic copper capped at 28 kilos per hectare over seven years. This equates to an annual dose of 4 kg per hectare per year, spread over seven years and no maximum annual limit, compared with a current limit of 6 kg/ha/year over a five-year average for organic products alone.

According to our statistics, this will leave 20% of French organic winegrowers high and dry. Over the last five years, one in five organic winegrowers used more than 4 kg/ha/year. We are in trouble...” summed up Thomas Montagne, chairman of the European Federation of Independent Winegrowers (CEVI). “This is a very bad decision. Pressure from mildew for the 2018 vintage has shown that this system cannot work,” said Bernard Farges, chairman of the European Federation of Wines of Origin (EFOW). The amount “is not necessarily what we wanted, but everyone has to realise that we cannot move away from chemicals by banning alternatives. Even if copper is not the cure-all,” said Sylvie Dulong, a member of the board of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM Europe).


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