April 18, 2012: A press conference was held at Rives-Blanques today by the Chamber of Agriculture and the Limoux Cru to explain the benefits of fighting with pheromones.

Rives-Blanques and its neighbours are leading the way in fighting a grape worm called Eudemis by sexual confusion.   Pheromones placed in the vineyard disrupt the sensory attraction of female Eudemis, thus preventing mating and the subsequent appearance of grape-destroying larva.

The press conference held at Rives-Blanques today attracted nationwide interest, and included television coverage by FR3 (this link will work for one week only) and radio interviews on France Info.  Local newspapers covering the event included Le Magazine, The Midi Librethe Independant, and La Depeche: their articles can be read by following the links.

Limoux has the highest rate of conversion to organic winegrowing in the country.  Its engagement with biodiversity includes subsidized planting of hedges and building of dry stone walls, in cooperation with the European programme BioDiVine.

Rives-Blanques was the first vineyard in the region to use pheromones instead of spraying against Eudemis, but abandonned the practice after 2009 because of the cost involved.  A 50% subsidy now enables us to continue using sexual confusion as the means for fighting this pest. Together with four other winegrowers,  43 ha of Limoux are now covered by sexual confusion – not a huge percentage, but  in line with France generally (only 2%), and a true reflection of the costs involved.

In a rare show of cooperation amongst winegrowers, Limoux has rallied to the call.  « Our strength is our image, and our image is our terroir »,  as Richard Planas of the Limoux Cru put it to the Midi Libre (below).