terclim by ICS banner
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 GiESCO 9 Towards stopping pesticides: survey identification of on-farm solutions

Towards stopping pesticides: survey identification of on-farm solutions


Context and purpose of the study – The winegrowing sector consumes a lot of pesticides. Changes in vineyard are necessary in order to reduce or even stop using pesticides, and thus limit their harmful impacts on health and on environment. To answer these issues, the VITAE project (2021-2026) aims at designing pesticide free grapevine systems in France. For that, we take an interest in the vineyards using solutions to strongly reduce chemicals but also biopesticides. We assume that such vineyards exist and that they are implementing solutions that could inspire the design of free- pesticide system. Thus the objective of this study was to identify solutions implemented in commercial vineyards that let winegrowers to reduce pesticides. The solutions identified could be genetic, technical, organizational, or economic.

Material and methods – The study was based on a comprehensive and semi-structured surveys in 24 vineyards. Vineyards were only selected on their ideal environmental performance, not on their localization or production modes. The tracking method was used (Salembier et al. 2021). The survey consisted in a detailed discussion on the solutions implemented to reduce pesticide and how solutions were implemented. Details of solutions are described over the last 10 to 20 years and over the whole set of plots of the vineyard. We characterized combinations of technical solutions at the plot level, linked to the associated environmental and socio-economic profiles of the farm. The temporal relationships between the implementation of different solutions were also analysed.

Results – Fifty technical and organisational solutions were identified. Solutions are varied. Most are well known such as sown cover cropping in the row or interrow or use of Decision Support Tool for dose reasoning. 38 solutions were essentially positioned at the plot level and aimed to mitigate attacks and impacts of crop pests and diseases. In particular, many solutions aimed to increase plant defences and created an environment unfavourable to pests and diseases development. 12 solutions were based on the organisation and strategy of the farm. In fact, we also identified economic and commercial changes surch as increasing the wine price or saling more locally and directly to the consumer. These solutions made possible the implementation of costly technical solutions. In any cases, all of these solutions were combined in vineyards. Thus we identified 3 interesting strategies corresponding to 3 combinations of solutions.
The first strategy is the closest of the dominant system. The use of pesticides was highly effective by means of various technical and technological solutions at plot scale. Vineyards associated to the 1st strategy limit the use of pesticides by reducing the doses, avoiding to treat when the risk is limited and by sustituing toxic pesticides by more-friendly one such as some natural preparations (e.g. nettle, horsetail). The second strategy is based on pesticide substitution by more natural preparations, but also on a switch from mechanical interventions to manual interventions to improve the efficiency of practices and on natural permanent intercropping managed by mowing and grazing. Thus bud pruning is performed just once instead of twice or three times. A more precise winter pruning, by labour consuming, is also performed to limit interventions on vegetation so as thinning, leaf removal and even bud pruning. The labour increase is counterbalanced by an increase of wine prices and label subscription.  The third strategy is more based on a reduction of interventions, both manual and mechanical interventions associated to a limitation of the yield. This strategy is a no tillage one with the consequence of a reduction of costs compensing yield losses.
In all situations surveyed, vineyards tended towards more biodiversification in the plot (grazing, sown or natural intercropping in the inter-row and under the row, agroforestery or crop association).


Publication date: July 7, 2023

Issue: GiESCO 2023

Type: Poster



1UMR ABSys, 2 Place Viala, F-34060 Montpellier, France
2UMR LAE,28, rue de Herrlisheim, F-68000 Colmar, France

Contact the author*


grapevine, innovation, pesticide reduction, agroecology, survey, systemic approach, trajectory


GiESCO | GIESCO 2023 | IVES Conference Series


Related articles…


Climate change has brought several impacts that are becoming increasingly intense during the last few years and put at risk the quality of the berries or even the plant’s sustainability. Such extreme climatic events impact the composition of the wine while modulating its quality and the consumer preferences (Tempère et al., 2019). The three most important changes that take place in the must are: 1) decrease acidity, 2) increase of the concentration of sugar, hence increase of alcohol in the wine, and 3) modification
of the sensory balance and the development for example of cooked fruit aromas.


In Italy, in the past two decades, the rate of temperature increases (0.0369 °C per year) was slightly higher compared to the world average (0.0313 °C per year). It has also been indicated that the number and intensity of heat waves have increased considerably in the last decades. (IEA, 2022). Viticultural zones can be classified with climatic indexes. Huglin’s index (HI) considers the temperature in a definite area and has been considered as reliable to evaluate the thermal suitability for winegrape production (Zhang et al., 2023).

A synthesis approach on the impact of elevated CO2 on berry physiology and yield of Vitis vinifera

Besides the increase in global mean temperature the second main challenge of a changing climate is the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in relation to physiology and yield performance of grapevines. The benefits of increasing CO2 levels under greenhouse environment or open field studies have been well investigated for various annual crops. Research under free carbon dioxide enrichment on field-grown perennial plants such as grapevines is limited to a few studies. Further, chamber and greenhouse experiments have been conducted mostly on potted vines under eCO2 conditions.

Microbial ecosystems in wineries – molecular interactions between species and modelling of population dynamics

Microbial ecosystems are primary drivers of viticultural, oenological and other cellar-related processes
such as wastewater treatment. Metagenomic datasets have broadly mapped the vast microbial species
diversity of many of the relevant ecological niches within the broader wine environment, from vineyard
soils to plants and grapes to fermentation. The data highlight that species identities and diversity
significantly impact agronomic performance of vineyards as well as wine quality, but the complexity
of these systems and of microbial growth dynamics has defeated attempts to offer actionable
tools to guide or predict specific outcomes of ecosystem-based interventions.

Searching for the sweet spot: a focus on wine dealcoholization

It is well known that the vinification of grapes at full maturation can produce rich, full-bodied wines,
with intense and complex flavour profiles. However, the juice obtained from such grapes may have very
high sugar concentration, resulting in wines with an excessive concentration of ethanol. In addition, the decoupling between technological maturity and phenolic/aromatic one due to global warming, exacerbates this problem in some wine-growing regions. In parallel with the increase of the mean alcohol content of wines on the market, also the demand for reduced alcohol beverages has increased in recent years, mainly as a result of health and social concerns about the risks related to the consumption of alcohol.