Organic viticulture forbids the use of any sinthetic chemicals and products that can leave a residue in the grapes. Locally known as ecological viticulture it also limits the use of any products that leave residues in the environment.
The characteristics of the Priorat, its soils, steep slopes and local climate provide certain advantages and some challenges to organic viticulture. On the negative side, the steep slopes (costers) of most old vineyards make weed control very difficult, and this has been dealt with traditionally in the region by the widespread use of herbicides. As this is not an option for organic viticulture, we solve this through the use of caterpillar tractors that are able to plough the vineyards at much steeper gradients that traditional farm equipment and manual weed control using trimmers.
The Priorat’s soils and climate, however, make it an ideal candidate for organic viticulture: The low rainfall (approximately 350 mm per annum), low humitidy, high temperatures and good ventilation makes fungal deseases very rare. As a result it is very unusual to need to use any copper based treatments, leaving the use of powdered sulphur as the main vineyard treatment. The Totrix Moth, whose larva penetrate the grapes and can cause rot, is treated with bacillus thuringiensis.
Chemical fertilisers are also outlawed by organic farming regulations. In flatter, more fertile areas, these are replaced with “green fertilisers” – planting grasses between the vine rows in winter – but on the steep slopes of the Priorat this is not practical, leaving only the occasional use of small amounts of organic manures placed around the roots of younger plants.
Our organic wines fall under the control of the CCPAE (Consell Català de la producció agrària ecològica). This is a public watchdog responsible to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Catalan Government. This organisation undertakes regular inspections and certifies that the terms of the European Regulation 2092/91 on organic produce are adhered to.