Organic wine production is predicated on pristine growing conditions, without the use of toxic chemicals on the land, bringing back biodiversity to host creatures from avian to insects. Two of our winery partners have witnessed this phenomenon first-hand, telling stories of delicate and endangered bird and dragonfly that have made their way back to the vineyards.
Maison Raymond, in the Entre-Deaux-Mers region of Bordeaux, has been practicing organic methods since 2000, and is one of the largest organic vineyards in Bordeaux. The organic vineyard has been helping to rebuild the flora and fauna of the area, simply by adopting chemical-free growing practices.
The beautiful indigenous linnet bird who once flew free above the vineyards of France, was on the brink of extinction due largely to the use of the toxic chemical glyphosate in conventional vineyards. But as a study conducted this spring by l’INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research) shows, the song of the linnet bird can be heard once again in the organic vineyards of Maison Raymond. Their vineyards are being studied by l’INRA scientists to determine if organic practices have a benefit to biodiversity and are finding exceptional results. The linnet birds being heard once again in the Maison Raymond vineyards closest to the forest. From the INRA article:
“With the return of spring, the birds began to sing to court the females but also, and above all, to delimit their territory: a kind of acoustic boundary. This territorial sound competition allows us to easily study breeding birds in wine-growing landscapes. All that is needed is to listen and identify the different protagonists of the morning melody that characterizes the awakening of the campaign. Thus after 10 minutes of attentive listening, all the bird species present in and near the vineyard are counted. This valuable information will allow us to better understand the influence of the vineyard on bird communities.
This species was very common in the 1980s, but populations are now in decline at European and French level with annual decreases of more than 3% leading to its inclusion as Vulnerable on the Red List of Birds of France. While the melodious linnet has lost more than 80% of its population in France in 20 years, mainly because of glyphosate, it seems that the grassy vines of the workshop site can offer it a refuge since it has been heard there several times!”
Maison Raymond continues to host the scientists on their land, and are in process of testing soil, air and water conditions to help determine how the problem of wildlife extinction can be turned around with organic farming. The number of French vineyards converting to organic production continues to grow, and as they do, the biodiversity of the land continues to thrive.
Dragonflies are among the most mystical insects in the world. Because of their strange and almost scary appearance they play a very colorful role in world’s mythology. The word Dragonfly has its source in the myth that Dragonflies were actually once Dragons.
In some cultures, the Dragonfly is feared, but in many others it is revered. For the Navajo Indians they symbolize pure water. For the Japanese, dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially haiku. They have also been used in traditional medicine in Japan and China for centuries.
In agriculture, the Dragonfly is one of the insects most susceptible to pesticides and many other types of environmental contamination. They are reliable indicators of water quality and helpful, voracious mosquito‐eaters. Chemicals reaching rivers and streams from agricultural runoff can disrupt dragonfly breeding patterns, and in some countries such as Great Britain, this has made the Dragonfly in danger of extinction.
The Pizzolato vineyards in Veneto, Italy are blessed with healthy swarms of dragonflies, attesting to the purity of the land, its chemical‐free environment and thriving biodiversity. The Dragonfly is respected and revered, and that’s why the label design for Pizzolato’s No Sulfites Added Wines honors one of nature’s most fascinating and fragile creatures. The wines are a Pure Expression of the grape manifest in these delightful wines, made without the use of any toxic chemicals.