How to convert successfully to organic in 2021

The boom in conversions to organic agriculture has entailed a greater need for information. At SITEVI 2021, exhibitors and talks will provide a range of sources to help farmers successfully achieve this major step.

The boom in conversions to organic agriculture has entailed a greater need for information. At SITEVI 2021, exhibitors and talks will provide a range of sources to help farmers successfully achieve this major step.

Consumers are turning in increasing numbers to organic wine, and the sector is following this trend. According to figures for 2020 from Agence Bio, French viticulture is massively converting to this new type of farming. The proportion of surface area certified organic or undergoing the conversion process grew by 22% between 2019 and 2020, taking the total to 137,00 hectares, or 17% of the total French vineyard. “Grapevines stand out in organic production,” observes Agence Bio in its latest report. “This dynamic can also be clearly seen in winegrowing areas where organic was relatively rare, such as Champagne, Burgundy and Alsace.”

Wine without sulphites, but not without control

This underlying trend must be accompanied. Indeed, conversion to organic entails substantial changes on an estate. The step to organic means additional administrative constraints, but also economic risks. To compensate for abandoning the use of pesticide, more frequent tilling operations or the use of plant cover do not prevent a certain decline in yield, a situation which lasts several years. This aspect must be anticipated and mitigated.

 

These themes will therefore be given key importance at SITEVI 2021, to take place in Montpellier, France from 30 November to 2 December. At the heart of the programme: the talk entitled “Organic viticulture: successfully converting today” (Wednesday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, see box). Another, more specific talk, “Organic and traditional sulphite-free wines” will take place on Thursday at 9:30 am. Wines without added SO2 are also on the agenda of a tasting masterclass organised by Union des Œnologues de France : Wine without sulphites, but not without control(Tuesday at 11:30).

 

Beyond this content-rich programme, the show is also the opportunity to discover a wide range of technical solutions displayed by around 1,000 registered exhibitors. The most remarkable among them are nominated for the 2021 SITEVI Innovation Awards. Such is the case with New Holland and Agxtend, who will present an electric weed control system suitable for narrow vines. En choisissant ce produit nominé, ajouter une ligne pour faire le lien entre pourquoi le désherbage électrique est une solution en viticulture biologique.

 

 

NICOLAS CONSTANT, WINEGROWING ENGINEERING ADVISOR, SUDVINBIO

“We will discuss the risks of cross contamination in a mixed winery”

“The organic conversion dynamic is getting stronger. The talk ‘Organic viticulture: successfully converting today’ therefore has a rightful place at the show. The theme of tilling will naturally be discussed, and I will offer a focus on diesel consumption. The speakers will also discuss reducing copper doses and the risks of cross contamination in a mixed winery. This is a theme of primary importance, since the profile of organic convertees is increasingly varied. Promotion towards consumers will also be on the agenda.