“The main advantage of organic wine production is respect for the environment.”

Julio Prieto is an Agricultural Engineer for the University of Zaragoza. Agronomist for the University of Lérida and Oenologist for the University of La Rioja. Specialising in Vegetal Protection and Wineyard Management, advising wineries in different Denominations of Origin and coordinating several R&D projects in the fields of wine growing and wine study. He is an expert in measuring wine growing and he is a co-creator of the app Agrimes.

He is one of the regular speakers in our training courses.


What are the main advantages of organic wine production?

The main one is the respect to environment. Consumers must realice that organic wine growing doesn’t use chemical synthesis products and works for the improvement of its soils. This guarantees a production which is beneficial to environment. Besides, using close and natural resources decreases the impact of supply chains. As consumers, as well as knowing that the wine in our glass has been made by sustainable procedures, we must be aware of enjoying a wine in whose elaboration the lack of pesticides and fungicides, as well as of any other synthesis or trasgenic chemical additive  is ensured, so we are consuming a product that looks after our health.


Is a widespread organic wine growing in Aragon, where there are zones which are prone to fungus?

Aragon is a priviledged zone to organic production, as the adverse features of our weather, such as cold and dry winters and hot summers ensure low rates of fungus and pathogenic agents in our wineyards, being mildew, botrytis and powdery mildew the most common and damaging to quality. The first two rarely appear in very weird years and we have learnt to organically control the third one without any kind of problems. Organic wine growing is possible in any vineyard in our region.


Is there any growth margin for organic wine in Aragon?

Regarding the vineyards to be transformed, of course there is. Almost the whole existing vineyards could produce according to the rules of organic wine. With regard to market, figures seem to state that it is a growing product and that in spite of the fact that wine consumption has come to a standstill, even has decreased in the last years, this does not happen to organic wine, which is sharply increasing every year. We have a great opportunity to lead markets and world organic wine production and we should take advantage of it.


Are organic and biodynamic wines the same?

Although they have some common features, they are not the same. A biodynamic wine is organic, but not every organic wine is biodynamic. I mean, in 2007, the EU Council passed the EU Council Regulation nr. 834/2007, stating the principles, objectives and main rules of organic production and sets how organic products must be labelled. Every organic wine must be under this regulation and must go through a rule compliance certification procedure.

Biodynamic wines are wines which, as well as meeting the organic production regulation, must be certified and comply with a series of private rules, which deal not only with organic production rules, but also the rules of use of extracts from plants, organic remedies, natural spaces in farms… In rules regarding wine elaboration, regulations and certifications of biodynamic wines may add some extra conditions to organic production rules. As I am not an expert in regulation,  I am not able to compare both of them term by term.


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