Copper has been used since the nineteenth century as a fungicide to protect vines and is the only substance authorised in organic wine growing that is fully effective against mildew. However, its continuous use increases soil toxicity and is harmful to farmers’ skin. From 2019 to 2026, the European Commission introduced reductions in the use of copper to the application of 28 kg of the metal.
The UMA will define the optimal conditions for applying plant health products, including copper microcapsules designed to reduce the amount of this metal used in the application. Based on preliminary results obtained in trials carried out in the Agrópolis facilities, other trials will be carried out at small scale on plots in France and at large scale in the vineyards of the Jean Leon winery.
Coppereplace is led by the Wine Technology Platform (PTV), and has an international consortium comprised of Spanish, French and Portuguese entities, including, in addition to the UMA, the Associaçao per a o Desenvolvimento dóna Viticultura Duriense (ADVID), Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin (IFV), Sogrape Vinhos, Centre de Valorització Ambiental del Nord (CVAN), Vignerons Bio Nouvelle Aquitaine (SVBNA), Eurecat, Família Torres, Universidade do Porto (GreenUPorto), Universitat de Vigo, LBS (Gérard Bertrand) and Jean Leon. In addition, the consortium has the support of Artica Enginyeria i Innovació (artica+i) consultancy.
Coppereplace will create a network of stakeholders that will include wine growers and other representatives of the international grape and wine-growing sector. The aim is to involve all the agents who are interested in the project so they can contribute their knowledge and experience.
The project, which started in November 2020 and should end in 2023, has a budget of over 1.6 million euros and has received over 1 million euros in funding from the South West Europe Regional Cooperation Programme (Interreg Sudoe).