Pesticides/Herbicides/Fungicides... The traditional knowledge popularized since WWII has been that you can't live without 'em. Used in all areas of agricultural production, treatment with strong and largely experimental chemicals has been status quo. Nowadays we're beginning to realize you can't live [a full, healthy, or responsible life] with 'em.
Image Courtesy: Ethicalwine.com
A recent study by the EXCELL Laboratory in Bordeaux has found pesticides or fungicides in 90% of 2009 and 2010 wines tested. Ranging from a single type of chemical compound to up to nine unique chemicals, there is damning evidence of mismanagement in the vineyard.
"Vineyards represent just 3% of agricultural land in France, but the wine industry accounts for 20% of phytosanitary product volumes, and 80% of fungicide use specifically. www.Decanter.com"
While there is still limited evidence of direct health complications from pesticide and fungicide exposure through food, there are clear and direct correlations between farmworkers, pesticides, and health effects. In addition, while the EU has set limits of 250mg/l of chemical allowed on grapes, there are NO LIMITS set for their use IN WINES. I highly recommend reading this breifing by Pesticide Action Network Europe which explores the wide use of chemicals in wine making and the relative lack of regulation vs consumables like water and vegetables. Some wines they tested contained over 2000x the legal limit of pesticides allowed in water!
What can you do to both avoid pesticides and promote healthier agriculture? Vote with your wallet and buy certified Organic, Natural, and Biodynamic Wines.