A study that revealed high levels of pesticide and fungicide residues in French wines has rocked the French wine industry.
Decanter.com reports that the Bordeaux laboratory Excell and its researcher Pascal Chatonnet, who is also a winemaker in the region, found residues in 90 per cent of more than 300 wines it tested.
The wines were from the 2009 and ’10 vintages in Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley and the wider south-west region including Madiran and Gaillac.
The wines were tested for 50 different molecules found in vine treatment chemicals, such as pesticides and fungicides.
Some wines contained as many as nine separate molecules; fungicides which are sprayed to counteract bunch rot were the most prevalent.
These are often applied late in the season and there is a ‘holding period’ – a minimum time that must elapse between the final spray and harvesting - which is supposed to guarantee residue-free wine.
But it has long been suspected that these rules are broken, especially in wet seasons. It is also questionable whether the levels of legally permitted residues are low enough, and this latest finding is likely to re-open the debate.