This refers to a procedure, to which all economically, ecologically and toxicologically sustainable methods are applied, in order to keep the extent of damage to a minimum and beneath the economic damage threshold.
Integrated Viticulture is a method of working toward the profitable production of qualitatively high value grapes, wine and other grape products. Protection of human health as well as conservation of the basis for production and the environment stand at the forefront of Integrated Viticulture. Through the general overview of the vineyard as an agro-ecosystem, all means of cultivation were taken into account. Three quarters of Austrian vineyard land is cultivated according to the principles of Integrated Production.
Integrated production is an outgrowth of ‘integrated crop protection’. The growing use of pesticides led to increasing difficulties in the 1980s. Side effects of pesticides/herbicides on the ecology were carefully examined with scientifically exact methodology, and as a result evaluated in terms of potential damage to useful organisms. Ecologically harmful and potentially damaging materials and preparations – including those potentially harmful to the user spreading these preparations in the vineyard – were limited in use (beyond a certain amount deemed permissible) or forbidden altogether. Over the course of the year, the soil – as in other methods of production – is to be planted with greenery or covered with other organic material.
Permitted herbicides for maintenance of the soil may only be applied in strip-form among the stake rows. Selective use of modern herbicides should not contaminate the soils over the longer term. This was not true of the herbicides formerly used, which are today forbidden. Only those materials expressly permitted in Integrated Viticulture for combatting disease and pests may be utilised. All materials, fecundating or therapeutic, listed under the biological production method may also be used.
Wine production is governed by the Austrian Wine Law. Products made through this method of viticulture can be designated and described as ‘wine made from grapes produced via Integrated Viticulture’.
Utilising a practical combination of crop care measure and crop protection treatments will mean that, after a certain threshold of damage has been crossed, a lower level of CO2 emissions will also be achieved because of the reduces number of passes made by tractors through the vineyards.