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The chemicals don’t work so go biodynamic: Joly

Mildew has affected biodynamic and non-biodynamic farmers alike this year, Nicolas Joly has said - proving the uselessness of chemicals.

The biodynamic guru – owner of the Coulee de Serrant vineyard in the Loire – has written a new book in which he reprises his much-repeated theme: modern farming is destroying wine.

In an interview in the Organic Wine Journal earlier this year he pointed the finger at wine consultants for ruining the land.

‘My first book [about biodynamic farming] was for the farmer,’ Joly told decanter.com. ‘This one is for the consumer. They have the right to have a raspberry flavour in a wine, but also the right to know whether it was put there naturally or not,’ he said.

The proof of the failure of modern farming practices, he said, has been the fact that this year biodynamic and non-biodynamic farmers alike suffered from the mildew epidemic. Modern chemicals, says Joly, no longer work.

‘My aim is to get back to the real taste of wine,’ he said. ‘The taste of this grape, grown in this place, with this climate.’

In the new book Joly claims that vines have undergone four ‘dramas’ in recent times: weedkillers, fertilisers, increasing disease levels that necessitate the use of systemic chemicals – those that enter into the internal system of the vine, not just rest on leaves or grapes – and the chemicals themselves.

Joly also says the winemaking cellar has become ‘a factory’ due to the use of added yeasts, osmosis and other additives in musts, all of which artificially add flavours to wine.

With biodynamic farming all of this can be avoided, Joly says. But convincing other winemakers will not be easy: most remain tolerant but sceptical.

‘I don’t agree. But if Nicolas Joly didn’t exist we would have to invent him,’ said Hubert de Boüard, owner of several Bordeaux chateaux and president of the regional board of INAO, the French wine regulatory body. ‘He certainly makes us all think,’ he added.

The English version of the book, ‘What is biodynamic wine’, was published in May this year by Clairview Books, and the French version will be out in October.

Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux

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