Field blends bring disease resistance

Preventing the spread of viruses and other diseases in the vineyard requires not just a range of plant species but also mix of vine varieties, according to Jeff Coutelou of Mas Coutelou.


Mas Coutelou labels

Speaking during a round-table event yesterday at Roberson Wine’s annual portfolio tasting, Coutelou, a producer based in the Languedoc, outlined his techniques for producing wine as naturally as possible.

Having advocated the planting of a range of tree species to bring good predators into his organic vineyards, he also stressed the importance of mixing grape varieties within the same plot to prevent the rapid spread of disease.

“If you have just one type of grape in one place and you have a virus it can quickly give the disease to all of the vines, but if you have different types, and the neighboring vine is less susceptible, then it will protect the others.”

As a consequence, Coutelou’s own vineyards not far from Beziers have as many as 25 different varieties within the same plot.

“The blend is done in the vineyard,” he said, acknowledging that mixed plantings were a traditional approach to viticulture.

He also said that he was currently planting a little-known grape called Castets.

Historically planted in south west France and Provence, Castets is almost extinct, with the latter region’s Château Simone one of the few places still growing the variety.


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