Monday, February 25, 2013
According to Farming News:
The wine industry in France uses a proportionately high volume of chemical products on vines, accounting for 20 percent of all agricultural chemicals for products grown on 3 percent of the agricultural area.
More tragic, International Business Times reports:
Dozens of French grape farmers have been struck by illnesses that have been traced back to the pesticides they used. One farmer named Yannick Chenet died in 2011, seven years after he accidentally inhaled toxic fumes from his spraying machine. Other farmers have suffered Parkinson’s disease and various types of cancer. Studies have shown that farmers and laborers on vineyards in France tend to die from brain cancer at higher rates than the general population, and also are more likely to develop dementia.
A previous study from European Pesticide Action Network (PAN) found even more contamination from multiple EU countries with up to 24 chemicals in the wines (up to 10 in one bottle), classified as ”carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic or endocrine disrupting”.
This must be an unfortunate black eye for the world’s Wine Country for another reason as wine connoisseurs can tell you – everything affects the taste of wine – everything. Even a hint of a flower fragrance in the air that season adds nuance. If getting a piece of cork in the bottle can ruin it, imagine what heavy pesticide dousing can do to the flavor when it’s in the crushed grapes themselves. Health and quality are more important than taste, but imagine what can happen to the wine industry if this isn’t ameliorated.
Excell laboratories organized a conference to talk about “new perspectives” in growing. In January, the EU called for changes in pesticide use to protect declining bee colonies. France’s government plans to halve the amount of pesticides by 2018 but expect mega opposition from the ag industry.
There is no list of brands to look for and no definite date for the positive changes – so we can’t really be sure of French wines made in the last few years or so. Look for the words “Vin Biologique” or “Organic Wine” on foreign labels. Check out this infographic on buying organic wine. In the meantime, it might be better to pursue organic American brands. Michigan, in fact, is becoming a booming wine valley thanks to the Lake effect, and more people are starting and visiting wineries there. There is more demand for local cuisine. Still have to watch that fluoride if city water is used in the processing.
- GMO Wine (geoengineeredworld.wordpress.com)