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 towards the profitable production of high-quality grapes, wine and other grape products. People’s health, the conservation of resources and the protection of the environment all stand at the forefront of integrated viticulture. By adopting the view that a vineyard is an agricultural ecosystem, all cultivation practices are taken into consideration. Three quarters of Austria’s area under vine is cultivated according to the principles of integrated production, which is an offshoot of integrated crop protection practices.
The growing use of pesticides led to increasing problems in the 1980s. The side effects of pesticides/herbicides on the ecosystem were closely examined by scientists and evaluated in terms of potential damage to beneficial organisms. The use of agents and compounds that are harmful to beneficial organisms and the environment (including the person spreading these products in the vineyard), is restricted to authorised levels or forbidden altogether. Throughout the year, the soil – as in other methods of production – needs to be planted with vegetation or covered with other organic material.
Permitted herbicides for soil maintenance may only be applied along the rows of vines. By carefully selecting which modern herbicides to use, the soil is contaminated far less than it was with the earlier herbicides, whose use is now forbidden. Diseases and pests may only be combatted using substances that have been approved for use in integrated viticulture. In addition, all crop care and fortification substances approved for use in organic production methods may be used. By only employing a strategic combination of crop care measures and treating crops once a certain level of infestation/damage has been reached, winegrowers can lower CO2 emissions due to the reduced need to drive through the vineyard with a tractor.