Organic growers only use products derived from natural sources to manage pests and diseases in the vineyard. Synthetic herbicides and insecticides are prohibited.
By finding inventive ways to work with the cycles of nature organic growers manage the numerous pests and diseases that attack vines, leaves, roots and fruit, without using hazardous chemicals.
Organic systems are designed to minimise the need for chemicals, and all organic growers must have an established plan for doing this. For example, many organic vineyards sow flowering plants such as buckwheat and Phacelia between vine rows to provide nutrients and habitats for beneficial native insects that work to deter harmful pests.
Without the use of synthetic chemicals to stop a disease outbreak, organic growers take a proactive approach, watching for signs of any presence throughout the growing season. To keep diseases from taking hold in the canopy, organic growers work to maintain an open canopy, letting air and light reach the grapes.
All chemicals used must be approved by an organic certification body before they can be used in organic vineyards. Organic sprays are normally made from natural mineral elements or beneficial bacteria and fungi, which outcompete diseases.
The organic winemaking process is also closely monitored. All chemical agents used in the winemaking process must be certified organic, and come from natural sources.
Sulfites must remain at low levels in organic wine. Organic wineries also avoid chemical cleaners, maintaining hygiene through the use of certified organic products, hot water and steam.