Day 32: A Taste of Petrol

Eric Texier is a vigneron working in the Rhone valley. he is a former nuclear engineer and he brings a scientist’s constant curiosity to his winemaking. It’s an honor to have him here.

Petrol is often named in tasting.

Some find it noble. Some find it vulgar. Some say this is a question of balance…

I admit that I like a bit of petrol in Mosel Rieslings or in my own Chateuneuf blanc.

For the past 9-10 years though, when I check my accounting books at the end of the years, I find a taste of petrol in all my wines.

Natural wine is supposed to be made by natural means, as I understand it.

Some of the “stamped” (I mean certified) natural winemakers are growing organic or biodynamic while some are going their own way, more concerned by politics or aesthetics than certification. But roughly everyone claims to use as clean as possible ways to grow grapes and make wine. I do as well, of course.
Well than, back to my accounting books.

As I started growing grapes organically (according to the Ecocert rules), I could see that my oil consumption was raised quite a bit for my Brézème vineyard.

How much?

Let’s take a closer look:

During 1999, I burned about 550 liters of diesel for 4.2 ha. At that time, these vineyards were chemically weeded and treated.

During 2008, a tough year for mildew though, I burned 980 liters of diesel for the same 4.2 ha… These same vineyards are now ploughed under the row, cultivated between the rows and treated with so called “organic” molecules (copper sulphate, sulphur).

By the way, I checked that the energy used for the production of 1 kg of carbamates (anti-mildew agents) is about the same than for 1 kg of bouillie bordelaise (copper sulphate and lime, aka Bordeaux Mixture).
So, ploughing – and I will talk here only about ploughing- 4-5 times under the vines with an interceps instead of spraying Roundup once has an enormous cost in term of CO2 and fossil fuel consumption which comes out to about 10 hours of tractors per hectare, each year. Roughly 100 liters of fossil fuel burned for 5000 bottles. 20 ml of fossil fuel burned for a single bottle. About the volume of a cork of fossil fuel in each bottle!!!

I don’t want to be too long and boring.

But I can now claim that the choice I made 9 years ago of going for organic growing spared about 70 liters of Roundup over these 9 years, but I burned 3600 liters more fossil fuel or 2 vintages of Pergaud.
You guys knew I would be politically incorrect. So here I am…

Since I have made my first wine (1995, Staline just died, right?…), things have changed quite a bit. Natural wine is now a whole part of the wine world. But natural wines were something different at that time. They were traditional, artisanal wines made from organic grapes, and sustainability was part of the picture. A very important part, for the growers and for the consumers.

I have the strange feeling that these days, a very few people are interested when I say all my doubts about using copper (a heavy metal, and a very powerful and long remaining antifungus, that kills most of the very important mycchorisis in the soils) or my concerns about ploughing and fossil fuel.

Amphoras and SO2 are among the top concerns now. Talks about long maceration for the whites are very welcome both in NYC and in Paris, in trade tasting or in Bars à vins natures.

But I will say that cold carbonic maceration energy cost is absolutely HUGE. And therefore a lot natural wines might be very questionable in terms of carbon footprint. Nobody gives a shit about this. Except some of the Michel Rolland teams maybe. Or Adam Lee probably.

Though I am not considered as part of the core group of the “vin nature” world, I have met quite a lot of the growers involved in this movement, and to my surprise, very few are talking about viticulture. At a much lower rate than what I have found among the historical organic growers.

More specifically, sustainability is rarely a subject of discussion. SO2, carbonic maceration, filtration, amphoras, Jules Chauvet, even Che Guevara are much more fashionable than fossil fuel consumption or carbon footprint in the present natural wine discussion while biodynamie, the definition of natural winemaking, and spoofulation are all very popular topics on wine boards.

Didier Barrouiller and Michel Théron, both fabulously innovative growers, the former for plant interactions, the latter for the uses of herbs teas are not icons of the “Vins Natures” movements. They should have cared much more about fashionable topics than the impact of viticulture on the local ecosystems and they might be in splashy wine magazines or on wine boards as Natural Wines Heroes.

As consumers and citizens, I think we should be more concerned with facts than intentions.

Natural wines are full of good intentions. They are full of fossil fuel, too.

And that is a fact.

As growers, we have to go much further than organic growing (in fact pre-1950’s agriculture) or biodynamie (which is not much better than organic growing, at least when considered in today’s actual practice).
We have to face the question that people like Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollisson, Miguel Altieri, Marc Bonfils raised at the same time, during the 1970’s, on all continents, which is, can we compose with nature instead of fighting against it?

I know no one wants to see organic growing, biodynamie and natural wines as fossil fuel rockets, but right now and in my humble opinion, they are.

Let’s go further, merde.

Follow day by day here: https://saignee.wordpress.com/32-days-of-natural-wine-links/

Up next: A wrap up post, or; Don’t count on it coming tomorrow.

~ by Cory Cartwright on July 20, 2010.

59 Responses to “Day 32: A Taste of Petrol”

  1. It took 30 days to get to an intelligently critical contribution!

    Thanks Eric!

  2. Thanks for the enlightening post and please keep the facts coming!

  3. Eric,

    I’m surprised to hear you say that you never hear winemakers in France aren’t talking about this stuff. Bloggers, forum denizens, and other people who don’t know shit about winemaking I fully expect to be focused on the inconsequential stuff. It’s kind of depressing to hear, actually. Glad somebody spoke up, or we’d keep talking about sulfur and amphora as if those things mattered.

    • Well, Tyler did write a whole book about this. I haven’t read it, so I can’t speak to its accuracy or quality, but there’s at least been a conversation.

  4. Well said, Eric! As a winemaker in California, I wrestle with these questions daily and grumble to myself when I hear or read others who loudly trumpet their “sustainable” practices. Thanks for speaking up!

    • Did I say somewhere that I though it was better to spray tons of chemical, as you seem to be proud of doing so????

      Is my english so bad that you didn’t get that after 10 years of organic/biodynamic growing I have not intention to go backwards and be your chemical buddy???!!!
      I want to further, not backward.

      • I simply wanted to say that i was glad to hear you acknowledge the trade-offs that one must make in the path one choses in such an intensely manipulative practice as wine growing. Everything we do, from trellising to leaf removal, to green harvesting is geared toward addressing the site/pest issues in a way which does not depend on chemical intervention. Oh, and you forgot the effect on soil structure of all those additional tractor passes. By the way, your English is just fine…

      • Come on Eric… Where did Kevin say or imply any of that?

        Nowhere.

      • Sorry if I misunderstood.
        But I already got emails making me some kind of anti “natural wines” heroe!!!
        Obviously I’m not the only one who misunderstand…

      • Not looking for heroes or anti-heroes, just an honest conversation.

  5. thanks eric. you’re one of the few people about which it can be said that i learn something every time i talk to you or read something you wrote.

  6. Eric,
    How about ploughing with a horse like Olivier Cousin, Benoît Courault, Sebastien Bobinet, Renaud Guettier (La Grapperie) and many others…. No petrol there…
    And these are all people who talk quite a bit about viticulture. Olivier also heats his house with the wood he cuts in his vines and grows his own vegetables, and lives quite a low-impact life in general. After all, if we want to expand the discussion we need to talk about how we all live as well.
    One thing however: biodiversity an important part of the discussion among many natural winemakers. Claude Bourguignon’s writings about the microbiology of the soil has been central to many natural winemakers’ thinking about viticulture. We are killing off the micro-life of the planet every day. In Cousin’s vineyard you can see with your eyes the diversity of herbs growing. A monoculture of an entirely ploughed organic vineyard certainly doesn’t promote biodiversity in the same way viticulture in the mode of Cousin’s biodynamic practices does.
    best,
    Jenny

    • Jenny,

      You know that you can’t grow the same way in northern climates and in southern climates.
      Plus I have yet to meet a grower that plough 100% by horse. I am glad to hear you did. They are heroes and exemples for sure, but totally marginal in terms of quantities even among the natural wines.
      My deep feeling is that ploughing is a wrong answer, horse or not…

      • Eric,
        yes, of course southern climatic concerns are different, I understand. In any case, I am sure Olivier Cousin would be happy to talk to you about his view of ploughing by horse. He runs a group to teach people to use horses in the vines, in fact (to share information). He is certainly against systematizing ploughing (ie believes in biodiversity). And someone in the South with over 20 years of experience working with a horse is Bernard Bellahsen (Domaine Fontedicto) near Pezenas. He also does some consulting, and is also very much concerned with issues of biodiversity.
        Best to you,
        Jenny

      • Jenny,

        I’m not sure I am an horse guy!!!
        Again, to me ploughing is more a plea than a solution.
        Altieri showed very well that the invention of plough was the begining of monoculture and the end of collaboration between man and nature.

      • There’s a guy in Alsace that trains and leads horses to do vineyard work, and who has contracts with a number of domaines you would recognize. But I don’t know what percentage of the work he does.

      • In fact, I see Bertrand Celce has written about him:

        http://www.wineterroirs.com/2010/04/draft_horse.html

      • And what do the horses eat? How is their food grown, transported, etc.? Does anyone really have any evidence on the total environmental impact of horses vs tractors? The French have a bunch of nuclear reactors, use electric-powered tractors. Nuclear plants have no negative impact on the environment right?

  7. Eric:
    Public radio in the U.S. did a feature with a midwest farmer where a husband, who is a traditional farmer, and his wife, who was touting organic farming, set aside one plot of land and farmed it organically to see how it turned out. The point the husband kept making was that organic farming using more fuel. I was pleased to see you verify that point.

  8. Eric

    Good post and as everyone reading this is finding out, there is always more going on then meets the eye. I always say, get to know your vigneron (or contadino) to fully understand their philosophy. After all, their philosophy is much more important than that certification appearing on that label of wine.

    Thanks for this story!

  9. Eric-

    This has been something we’ve discussed before and as usual you make excellent points. I think at the extremes of whatever exists of “the movement” are too interested in cellar practices and not interested enough in viticulture.

    Didier Barrouillet is a genius and his viticulural ecosystem is a wonder to behold.

    Great contribution, my friend.

    • A lot more to discuss if you are around in NC after harvest.
      BTW do you know how to make a BBQ sauce the old north carolina way?
      I’m sure you know.
      Amitiés

  10. Eric,

    Thanks for bringing these issues up. Your post is well-written, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Thanks also for your excellent wines, which do not display any of the negative aspects of “biodiversity” in the cellar.

  11. Great wine can come only from great work in the vines.

  12. Great piece Eric! Thanks.

    This is an issue that every grower, “natural” or not, must address. No-till and no-chem farming are possible. Many growers are doing it successfully. It requires a change in thinking, and a willingness to accept a somewhat “less tidy” vineyard. The benefits are there, for the grower, the soil, the vine and the terroir.

  13. Eric,

    I certainly hope no one gets the idea that you are somehow anti-natural wine from this piece.

    I certainly don’t think the piece is meant to be read as you advocating the use of conventional agriculture as a cure for the excesses of organic, and I think anybody who takes it that way is totally unfamiliar with you or being intentionally ignorant to suit their own ends.

    The belief that organic farming has gone backwards in terms of sustainability is something not unique to viticulture. Do you believe Fukuoka is viable? Do you believe that in order to make this work vignerons need to return to bioculture plots to be truly sustainable? Where do you think the next great ideas are going to come from? Has anybody thought about getting the ideas from Didier and Michel down for dissemination to a wider audience?

    Sorry, a lot of questions.

    • Fukuoka, permaculture, agroecology are different shows of the same idea : growing something only with the local energetical ressources, mainly the solar energy received by the parcel you grow.
      So I don’t see why it wouldn’t be viable. But will we get the same results than conventional agriculture?
      Would we get Romanée Conti on Romanée Conti land at 200 or 300 vines per ha grow with cabages, salads, wheat or rye on a clover cover?
      I am not sure that I understand your second point.What do you mean by bioculture plots?
      I believe that the great ideas already exist. And they will probably come from places where farmers can’t afford to go for the western approach of scientific/industrial agriculuture.
      Again the wine business doesn’t give a shit about what is done in the vineyard. Amphoras or interceps? SO2 or Copper sulfate? The choice has been made since the beginning of the natural wine movement. My dream would be to be able to create a school for sustainable agriculture (not only viticulture) where all these people who have done an incredible job for years, far away from conventional agricultural research and from the “Vins Natures spotlights, could teach what they have learned from their experience. I working on it…

  14. Eric, excellent post. I’m guilty of focusing on the cellar. I’m no farmer and yet I’m interested in natural wine. Perhaps those are irreconcilable. Intentions still play a big part in what you write about. You intended something in the move to organics. Naturally you found trade offs in the impact of using more fuel. Using a horse would bring other questions. I’m left believing there’s no recipe for being natural, rather the intention to get there and a requirement that we reflect critically along the way to see, honestly, how we’re doing. You make an interesting case for doing that in the vineyard. Thanks.

  15. Lest anyone here think the ground we are treading here is new, let me submit this (with thanks to my friend Gretchen Jaeger):

    ““It is much to be regretted,” writes a very good friend, “that the ranks of the genuine Horticulturalist should be saddled with a pack of mountebanks, who are disgusting the whole community with trickery and humbuggery, with no other aim or object but their own greedy ends.” But this is to be expected, and we must take the evil with the good. Wine drinking communities are saddled with its drunkards, as well as grape-growing is with its charlatans; and, in fact, the more popular a matter becomes, the greater is the effort of unprincipled men to creep into the current and control its course.”

    THE GARDENER’S MONTHLY
    Edited by Thomas Meehan
    Volume VII, 1865

  16. Are you suggesting that winemakers who work organically are charlatans? Or I am reading this wrong?

    • No, I am suggesting that there are those who would co-opt the labels natural, organic, biodynamic and use them for purely commercial purposes. It is why I try and keep my mouth shut (clearly I am failing on this point today!).

  17. I think that one must make a distinction between the marginal impact on the overall environment and the direct impact on the wine. If you pollute a bit more, one can argue that it is bad for the overall earth a teeny bit. But if you dump copper directly on to the soil that is used to grow your own grapes, the impact is far greater.

    I doubt that the actions of a group of winemakers will have much impact on global warming one way or another. If, however, pesticide/herbicide/fungicide use in wine is dangerous, discontinuation will certainly help wine drinkers.

  18. Eric, what you raise is actually not a question of farming, but one of technology. Why don’t you check for instance the Gillier-Pantone System on: http://www.quanthomme.info/qhsuite/GillierAntoine.htm

    • I’ve worked on the pantone 30 years ago.
      You didn’t catch the essence of my purpose : fighting against nature by plowing, weeding, or modifying the ecosystem might well be one of the biggest mistake made by human kind.
      Pantone motor, horse or electrical tractor included

      • Eric, if you are truly convinced that “we should be more concerned with facts than intentions,” and if your understanding of “composing with nature” means “no horse nor tractor, no plowing, no weeding, no modification of the ecosystem,” and a “land at 200 or 300 vines per hectare grown with cabbages, salads, wheat or rye on a clover cover”… fine, then just do it! :)
        And till then, it may be still worthy considering the fact that the 10 years- old Gillier-Pantone System could help you reduce “the taste of petrol in all [your] wines” with a consumption “divided by 2, 3 or 4 and a quasi-total disappearance of pollution.” But I have no idea how one does lessen the environmental impact of a post and its comments: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hh_4eJ8N4PXuE6TToc3Zq_7sf05Q

      • Brigitte,

        Who said I didn’t already begun?

        Really fighting again weeds with a pantone motor (which is great in term of NOx emissions), an horse or any mechanical or chemical mean is about the same in term of agricultural approach.
        BTW, I stopped using fossil fuel this year. I am making my own oil out of a bit more of 1 ha of sunflower. (which is much less surface that what an horse needs for food over a year, and 1 horse = 7-8 ha of vine plowing so a tractor fed with vegetal oil is about as efficient as an horse, BTW).
        But again, this is far from being a smart approach, IMHO.

        With this ratio, about 25% of the cultivable lands. Totally unacceptable, no?
        I’d be glad to need 2 or 3 less time less oil for my tractor but all my (honest) trials have been relatively inefficient (As a trained engineer, I have been working on alternative fuels and motor technologies with a group friends for almost 20 years now…).

      • You fucking hippie.

  19. Excellent and interesting writing, Eric, thank you. Perhaps you need a solar-powered tractor?

  20. Fantastic post Eric, thank you. I never thought of it that way before.

  21. Thanks for the global insight. Great article.

    http://www.blog.onxwine.com

  22. Mr. Texier thank you for addressing an important issue of todays’ agriculture. Which opens as well the next question: is it truly possible to grow a monoculture and have/call it as natural? Can you just grow vines “naturally”? Some people go to Montalcino or in Piedmont and love the view of those hills covered with vineyards. On an agricultural point of view is saddening because you see just overstressed soils and very unbalanced ones (vines took place of trees of different coltures). In a mono-culture (any one) over the time the soil will be poorer in nutrients and will need a continuous human corrective action (conventional or not = machines).
    When farmers came to mr. Steiner they came to him because of the lacking of vitality in their soils and crops. Was Steiner a nuts? Is biodynamic a hoax? No if you do it in the right way (which has nothing to do with some marketing that you see these days). Steiner btw he really actually didn’t “invent” much of anything; he just put together what was already known and wrote since middle age in a anthroposofic / theosofic way. Is that the only way? Nope. You can follow Steiner, Boullier, Fukuok, Permaculture (or better perma-colture) but the point is always the same: you need biodiversity and the right one in balance with your land in order to create the “cycle of the ethylene – oxygen” that Alan Smith discovered and tried to explain at the end of the 70’s (he gave a speech once the “Secrets of the Living Soil” published then in the 1981 and literally got silenced after). Animals and plants help each other’s! Let them doing their course is better than a massive human intervention (at least in a long run). The biggest mistake of modern agriculture was the deep ploughing; ploughing has been used and necessary in cold soils to help accelerating the process after harsh winters ad it can be successful in some of them (the one rich already in iron particularly as is the key to fix ethylene).
    Conventional agriculture has been called necessary in order to feed the planet: without all subsidies – cannot survive (nor the farmer). Even Liebig had his share of concerns about a conventional agriculture in a long run.
    Truth is that by switching from conventional to organic we often keep the old defects and practices of doing too much for fear of mistakes (easy to say the banks need money too isn’t it?).
    I believe that farmers need to start thinking at their land and soil as their capital and assets. They need to maximize the input output not just in monetary terms but in Kilo Joules (energy produced by the land now and tangible growth for the future compared to my inputs/work) : if the soil is healthy I will win the war evn if I will lose some battles; I will produce and will do quality.

  23. such an interesting post – I’m also interested in viticulture and it’s great to see a post focussing on that (as opposed to peripheral sound-bite issues – though they are also interesting!!!). I’ve posted quite a few posts on my own blog on organic/sustainable viticulture (even a video when we (experimentally) ploughed with a horse).
    I liked the hard data on the fossil-fuels. I would like to calculate my own footprint one day (if only I had the time and the knowledge of how to do it!!!)

  24. But Eric, what did you already begin? For what your comment describes is, again like in your post, a question of energy, but not of farming.
    At least now I can finally see the background of your post :) Because I am like Dominique Guillet, when permaculture and thus biofuel get mentioned, I hear necrofuel.
    So, PPO and not biodiesel. Yet… 25%?! I agree that “a bit more of 1 ha of sunflower” can replace the 980 liters of diesel needed in 2008. But you need a crop rotation! And usually sunflower means a 1-in-5 rotation…
    Did you ever have the chance of meeting Ludwig Elsbett?

  25. I think you have made some very important points Eric and it is more important because I know you are a proponent of more natural viticulture and winemaking. I’m just glad that someone with your experience is giving us the reasoned view.

    There is a growing feeling in the wine regions that the natural wine movement has been taken from the hands of the vignerons and into those of the trendy big city bars and provocative writers. I hope ecological practices and striving to make real wine will not be turned into something laughably ridiculous by the extremists and the tiny percentage of producers and merchants who see all this effort as a road to riches.

  26. Reducing the use of fossil fuel is very possible if the the farm gets redesigned so plants help each other and humans are not fighting but working together with them. While ploughing by horse is far better than the deep ploughing – both are going to destroy the microflora and create anaerobic fermentation (therefore methane not ethylene) unless you lucky enough to insist on a very deep ferric soil (in that case you need to do it otherwise the vines will get spoiled).
    There are some fine examples around the world of this kind of farming and from very different climates (Fukuoka was about tropical farming but with logical changes that can be applied to northern climates as well i.e. use of medicago sativa aka Alfa Alfa to create the bed where all other plants can work – vines and cherry trees together). In terms of total output per variety per square foot very likely the result will be less output; in terms of quality that will be the fine or better; your cost per square foot is also going to be less than a mono-coltural one (conventional or organic the use of preparations + machines = carbon footprint – of which the cost is subsidized in many countries if not majority. Are you going to make a living? – yes. Are you going to sell the same amount of bottles than before – most likely not.

    • Paolo, there exist not only one but many various ways for a farmer to reduce his use of fossil fuel. He can even cancel it out using for instance organic/biodynamic pure plant oil (PPO, or SVO as straight vegetable oil) in his tractor… and no chemicals in his vineyard of course! I find in that sense Eric’s post not informative enough. But well, I also recognize in it the provocative tone of our French temperament! :)

  27. Brigitte, I fear that PPO SVO etc. are not a real solution. Sure you can make an endothermic engine working with those… but when you look at the total balance – if thermodynamic is not an opinion and once we consider the transformation costs to produce biofuel is such the total yield is negative, worst than using fossil fuels. Add to that the total environmental cost of converting to biofuel / biomasses in large scale would be catastrophic. Rainforest in Brazil and Asia are in dangers also because programs that are destroying Earth lungs in favor of palm oil or sugar cane used for this purpose. We, humans are energy hungry and increasingly so; in 2005 if the whole farms in UK were converted to produce biofuel the total supply would have satisfy about 10% of the UK energy needs. In 2010 that % would be less than 7%… With that I don’t mean to say do not use PPO, but do not look at that as THE solution. When you are looking at a farm is certainly possible to combine different energy sources, you can use the byproducts and part of the crops to produce energy necessary to the functioning of the farm. Problem is that the system is not yet efficient; as Mr. Texier pointed put we claim that we are protecting the environment that we are clean but then when you run the numbers you discover that you are not (and no one cares…) . My point is that there is a big engine out there and is not the one of the tractor; is the orchestra of plants that create your farm.

    • Paolo, I agree with you that biofuel is worse than fossil fuel, and please don’t forget to add to your list that biofuel acts as a wide open door to GMOs. To make it short, I prefer to call it “necrofuel” as I did in one of my comments above.
      But PPO/SVO is no methylic or ethylic ester of vegetable oil (EMHV or EEHV). It is not an ester, but oil. And it is not HVC or HVB, but HVP. Pure organic or biodynamic plant oil, cold pressed and chemically unmodified, locally produced and distributed for agricultural machinery. Yield per hectare: usually 900 to 1800 liters of rapeseed oil, or 500 to 1100 liters of sunflower oil. From there on, figure out the driving-hours of a tractor per year, its consumption… and you will find out that there is enough surface area in France for the French vignerons and farmers! As for UK, well, how many vignerons are they anyway? :)
      I’m sorry Paolo, but as a biodynamist I’m inclined to view the situations on a very practical level and not get lost in generalities. PPO/SVO is definitely an answer to the fossil fuel or biofuel consumption of a tractor, but again, I never said either it is THE solution. And similarly, no particular farming should ever be envisioned as THE agriculture.

  28. Understand that PPO / SVO is not a FAME/FAEE but is still part of biofuel’ family. If you are telling me that a PPO is cleaner and cheaper per liter to produce well yes I agree. But subsidized agriculture lives out of fossil fuel and therefore sustain a certain type of practices. No matter what CO2 and particulate are both produced by an engine running PPO or fossil fuel diesel. Computing the output KW per liter/ per hour etc. , the total pollution produced and comparing that to a similar non fossil fuel cost/ pollution we are back more or less to square one. When I was speaking about UK I was just pointing out that an average country cannot think to sustain itself on that kind of fuels and that we, humans, use an increasingly amount of energy per capita. Nothing wrong with that, if we do not destroy the planet and compromise the future generations’ life by doing that. Understand that biodynamic is being practical, yes Steiner was stressing that a lot; and because of that practicality united with a cosmologic conscience you should also consider all implication of actions and that is no generalities is strategic course of action; otherwise there is no reason for being organic or biodynamic or else.

  29. Eric: I’m glad to read that the “25% totally unacceptable” 1 ha of sunflower is to be understood not in the light of your 4.2 ha of vineyard, but of actually 5 ha of uncultivated land… 5 ha which by the same token answer my question of crop rotation. As for the importance to develop our inner capacity to bring out and carry conscious acts of will, how could I not agree with it? “Philosophy of Freedom”! :) Merci, et bonne veraison!

    Paolo: the reality of my life isn’t linked to “subsidized agriculture” and the responsibility of “an average country,” but to Biodynamics (thus local CSAs) and, more modestly, the responsibility of only few thousand acres of Biodynamic vineyards along the West Coast. I don’t know if this helps you evaluate whether I did after all and once in a while “consider all implication of actions.” But I sure know that it is a much too limited experience to help you rethinking “the planet and the future generations’ life.” Sorry, but good luck with that!

  30. Brigitte: wasn’t my intention to be offensive and I apologize if I sounded like that. I am glad you are successfully consulting biodynamic procedures in vineyards and of such size (I am not against biodynamic at all I read Steiner and applied on my own garden/farm 20 years ago even if my core wasn’t vine growing at the time). Nor I said that Fukuoka or Permacolture are superior. I just said that in my perspective one should look at the whole picture and ask how to improve it no matter what the road is and that reducing KJ input per output should be possible. Regarding subsidized agriculture I hope you will agree with me that if farmers are starting to pay fuel at the cost that everyone else does in several countries the game would be different (and yes a lot of PPO would be then made). Best.

  31. […] the end of the day, as Eric Texier so brilliantly reminded us, there are real issues that need to be discussed by people actually doing the work. Trendy wine […]

  32. Brazilian automakers make vehicles will be flexible with gasoline and ethanol blends. Ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil has been created in the twenties and thirties, with the introduction of the car. Output fell by the wayside until the seventies when oil again threatened. At that time ninety-seven percent of ethanol produced in the United States is from corn. There are no current plans to produce ethanol from sugar cane or beet sugar in the United States.

  33. […] i deeply admire both for his wines and his intellectual curiosity, caustic sense of humor, and ability to speak his mind, a bottle of 1996 François Pouchoulin Brézème was brought out. Of course for me this was the […]

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