What is organic?

Chateau Feely is fully cerified organic with Ecocert since 2008 and biodynamic with Demeter since 2010.

But what is organic farming and organic wine?

Organic farming means no chemical fertilisers, herbicides, systemic fungicides or systemic insecticides. They are all strictly forbidden.

Organic wine is wine made from grapes farmed organically and made into wine following a strict rules that include lower sulfites than conventional wine.

These elements are covered in more depth in winegrowing POD 4 LINK and winemaking POD 5 LINK.

There are 3 reasons to choose organic:

Why choose Organic? The full details

1. For your health

More beneficial elements including anti-oxidants

Organic products have more positive health elements, higher levels of anti-oxidants like resveratrol, in the case of wine. This is because the plant creates the anti-oxidants when it is attacked. If it is treated with systemics it will not be attacked and will not create these beneficial antioxidants. Read Caro’s second book Saving our Skins LINK for more on this subject.

To avoid the pesticide residues

Grapes farmed with pesticides will have pesticide residues in them. A study by Que Choisir consumer watchdog magazine in France showed the average level of pesticides in wine was hundreds of times the level acceptable in drinking water. There are three direct and dangerous effects of systemic pesticides on human health: cancer, nervous system disruption and endocrine-disruption.

  • cancer
  • nervous system disruption
  • endocrine disruption

Cancer  – many systemic pesticides are proven carcinogens, they give you cancer

For real life examples of cancer and pesticides see:

For detailed research of cancer and pesticides see:

Nervous system disruption – systemic pesticides are proven to generate nervous system disruption including diseases like alzheimers, parkinsons, motor-neuron disease, autism.

For detailed research on pesticides and nervous system disruption see

Systemic pesticides are also endocrine disrupters

Systemic pesticides mess with hormones and reproductive capability increasing fertility problems and the risk of cancer related to reproductive parts eg prostate and breast cancer.

For research into endocrine disruption and pesticides see

Conclusion on why choose organic for your health

The only way to be sure you are not consuming systemic pesticides, which cannot be washed or peeled off, is to buy certified organic or to grow your own organic produce.

Systemic pesticides are highly toxic, many state that you should not enter the field where they were sprayed for 48 hours after their use.

Our focus on this biodynamic trail is on wine, but it is not just wine you should consider buying organic. ‘Que choisir’ the consumer watchdog magazine did a study of muesli and found pesticide residues in all non-organic brands including those that communicate about loving bees and being nature friendly.

2. For the environment – more than the birds and the bees

We can see from the real life examples given in the section for your health above, that it is not only about you the drinker but also about the farmer, the farm worker, the schools nearby, the people living nearby.

What happens to systemic chemicals and herbicides sprayed on land? They end up in the soil, in water sources, in the air we breathe and in the product being grown.

Your choice of farming method affects the environment in four key areas

  • the health of the people that live nearby and the workers on the farm

  • water quality for the local communities

  • biodiversity

  • long term sustainability

Facts about pesticides effects on the environment 

  • Between 1998 and 2008 France abandoned close to 400 water capture zones destined for human consumption per year , largely due to unacceptable levels of agricultural chemicals.
  • 92% of Frances water courses are polluted by pesticides. See our blog article on growth in Herbicide use and its dangers 
  • After three years of organic farming the wild orchids came back into the vineyards at Chateau Feely. This is because the systemic fungicides had worked their way out of the soil and the mycorrizea had returned. Find out more about biodiversity and the environment in Winegrowing POD 4 LINK.

3. For the taste

Taste is very personal but there is proof that taste is better with organic wine and even more so with biodynamic wine.

An EU funded long term research project comparing conventional, organic and biodynamic viticulture is at Geisenheim university in Germany compared 2 hectares of conventional, 2 hectares of organic and 2 hectares of biodynamic riesling vines. In their blind taste tests over ten years biodynamic came first, organic second and the conventional chemically farmed wine came last.

Wines farmed naturally have higher natural acidity and this brings a vibrancy, length and an element of ‘relief’ – almost like a hilly landscape compared to a flat one.

Facts about why choose organic and the taste of wine:

  • At a recent ‘Concours Général Agricole’ the General Agricultural Competition in France nearly 50% of organic wines won medals while only 23% of all wines won medals.

  • At a recent Decanter World Wine Awards 65% of the organic wines won awards while the level of medals in general was only 33%.

  • The most expensive wine in the world is organic and biodynamic – Domaine Romanee Conti – as are many other top wineries. They know that natural farming is the only way to truly great taste. It cannot be faked.

According to ANSES (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail) vineyards consume 20% of the pesticides sold in France but they only represent around 3.7% of the farmed land. France used 72000 tons of pesticides in 2016, representing 20% of the pesticides used in the EU. France is the largest user of herbicides in Europe and the second largest consumer of pesticides after Spain. See Feely blog article on growth in herbicide use and its dangers. Changing vineyard practices will have a big overall effect on the quality of our water and air in France and in Europe.

The only way to be sure you are not consuming systemic pesticides, which cannot be washed or peeled off, is to buy certified organic or to grow your own organic produce.