Claims that the higher carbon footprint associated with organics, and the environmental damage from over-relying on one spray, mean organics should be dropped to save the environment.
Climate change activist and leading Port producer, Adrian Bridge, made it clear that he wouldn’t be embracing organic approaches to vineyard management in a bid to make his business more environmentally-friendly.
Bridge gave an example of Taylors LBV Port: “Currently, our carbon footprint for Taylors LBV is 2.8 kilos of carbon per litre, which is down 7% over the past two years, but, if I compare that figure to 2014, when it was 2.4 kilos, then you would think that we have got worse – we are producing more carbon dioxide.” He explained the difference was associated with lower yields, not a change in CO2 consumed. With organics producing 25% less grapes, it means 25% more carbon per bottle vs non-organics.
Miguel Torres, during a discussion with Drinks Business in 2017, said that he wouldn’t be converting all his estate to organics because of the increased amount of energy required to manage vines in this manner, as well as the extensive use of copper.
The restriction in sprays to manage mildew mean organic producers used more of the copper sulphate than other growers which build up in the soil.
Miguel also said that because copper is less effective than synthetic chemicals against fungal diseases such as mildew, it needs to be applied more often, which in turn produces more carbon emissions from the greater number of miles travelled by the vehicles spraying the heavy metal.
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