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Second French organic wine grower faces court over refusal to use pesticides

media Vines affected by flavescence dorée Open access/Josef Klement

A French organic wine grower has been summoned to court for refusing to use pesticides, following an official order to use them to prevent the spread of a vine disease. Another wine-maker won a similar case in the on appeal last December.

Thibault Liger-Belair, who owns two vineyards - one at Nuits-Saint-Georges in the prestigious Burgundy region and the other at Moul-à-Vent in the Beaujolais - has refused to comply with an official order to spray his vines with pesticide to prevent the spread of flavescence dorée.

He has been summoned to appear in court in Villefranche-sur-Saône on 19 May.

The disease, which is spread by an insect called the leafhopper, kills young vines and reduces the productivity of older ones, turning the leaves a golden colour and causing the grapes to shrivel up.

The pesticide will not only kill leafhoppers, Liger-Belair argues, but also the other insects that form part of the balance of nature he has carefully built up in his vineyard.

And he points out that the disease has broken out on a different kind of vine to his, 40km away from Moulin-à-Vent, which straddles two adminstrative districts, in one of which the order to spray does not apply.

Last December Emmanuel Goboulot won an appeal against a conviction for refusing to spray insecticide on his organic vines in Burgundy's Côte d'Or area.



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