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All wine will be organic

Published:  23 July, 2008

All wine will be organic in our lifetime, according to Vintage Roots' director Lance Pigott.

Pigott told Harpers: "It may not happen within ten years, but it will certainly happen. It's the only way to go as far as I can see. "There is a question of sustainability, and winemakers will find that many chemicals prevent sustainability, in the vineyard and in the winery. Some chemicals you spray on a vineyard and then you can't walk on it for about ten days. How can that be good for the land in the long term? "A high percentage of wines on the supermarket shelf, like Jacob's Creek, use far too many additives." Organic expert Monty Waldin agreed that all wine would become organic within our lifetime - but only under present, imprecise, definitions. "Today's wine isn't properly organic. If you don't spray, then you need to plough with a tractor three times compared to only once, and that compacts the soil, and pollutes the atmosphere," said Waldin. Martin Moore, winemaker at Durbanville winery in South Africa, thought that organic wine in its current guise had no future. The South African wine industry is currently implementing the Integrated Wine Production system to bring down the chemicals used in the vineyard but Moore said that wine will never be chemical free. "There's no way you can make wine without sulphur dioxide. You need it to prevent oxidisation and microbiological activity. Otherwise you're sitting on an expiry date." Waldin thought otherwise: "Winemakers think you have to add sulphur to wine, but you don't. It all comes down to having proper, deep-rooted vines, which form thick grape skins, which act as a natural preservative. "If you're putting additives in your wines, it means you can't grow grapes properly." Caxton Wines was unavailable for comment.