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Dr Richard Smart slams organics

Australian viticulturalist and leading global consultant on viticultural methods Dr Richard Smart has spoken out against organics and biodynamics, dubbing them “a nonsense”.

Speaking at the Wineries for Climate Protection conference in Barcelona last week, Smart (left) slammed the theory that organic and biodynamic wines are better for the environment.

“Many of the concepts behind organics and biodynamics are nonsense. They’re not good for the environment,” he said.

“When people buy food they don’t mind choosing products that have been grown on land treated with chemicals, so why should they care about how a wine has been treated?”

Smart spoke passionately about the need for winemakers to wake up to the fact that CO2 is a pollutant. “Oenologists are environmental vandals of the worst type. CO2 is the greatest pollutant and winemakers are releasing it back into the atmosphere, undoing all the good work in the vineyard.

“We need to figure out how to capture CO2 from fermenters, recover the volatiles, and put them back into the wine.”

On the subject of climate change, Smart called for forward thinking: “We need to be thinking about our grandchildren and those who aren’t even born yet. It’s our duty to do all that we can to avoid what would be a very serious situation.”

Speaking on the consequences of global warming, Smart warned that hot regions were the most at risk. “In 1989, I suggested to the OIV that Grenache may be planted in Bordeaux. They laughed. I’m not so sure they’d be laughing now – I may live to see it happen.

“Hot regions are in danger of becoming unsuited to wine production. I think the OIV should set up an international research effort to look into producing varieties for hot regions, using indigenous varieties from Greece, Spain and Southern Italy as breeding stock.”

Lucy Shaw, 16.06.2011

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