Imagine turning a key to a magnificent Andrew Marvell-esque garden. Luscious clusters of fruit crush themselves into open mouths. Nectarines and curious peaches fall into waiting hands. Not a speck of mould or rot. But deeper in the garden is a patch of dead soil, where only infections thrive. This is the garden of ill-judged agrochemical use.
Almost all treatments worth their salt have a downside and winegrowers are coming to terms with the need to find a better balance between positive short-term results and negative long-term ones. Ironically, just as they are ramping up the search for less toxic treatments – particularly for increasingly aggressive fungal diseases – vintners face the risk of losing what has been their softer option: copper.