Offering a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach in terms of training, technology transfer and decision making to finding alternative approaches to pest management and reducing pesticide use in the wine-producing sector of Tuscany.
The objective of the Artisans of Tuscan Wine (“Artigiani del Vino Toscano” (BIOCONVITO) project is to promote effective and environmentally-friendly grapevine pest control techniques in the heart of the Bolgheri region of Tuscany. The need to manage pest populations is increasing rapidly due to warmer temperatures caused by climate change. The heat not only boosts insect growth and reproduction, it also allows for winter survival, thereby contributing to higher population densities.
This is particularly the case for two major grapevine pests, the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) and the vine mealybug (Planococcus ficus). Both species proliferate in warm temperatures and controlling their spread in the EU is becoming increasingly challenging. This problem is coupled with the need to reduce pesticide use to protect human health and the environment. To mitigate the rising damage to grapevines, the project - based in the Italian wine-growing region of excellence in Bolgheri, Tuscany- focused on joint testing of biological control agents and mating disruption, as well as promoting cooperation amongst researchers, industry actors, and growers.
Strong cooperation was fostered among the multiple wine sector stakeholders who all had diverse perspectives, knowledge and skills. Hundreds of farmers and other actors gained awareness and understanding about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and biological control alternatives to chemical pesticides. The project led to the adoption of tailor-made biological control strategies applied on thousands of hectares of high-value vineyards and to reductions in pesticide use and associated environmental impacts.