The challenges of being organic in Condrieu

By Tobias Webb

A podcast interview with Paul Amsellem, a director of one of the finest Condrieu producers in the Rhone valley, Georges Vernay. In the interview we have a chat about the wines they make, the region, and how tough it is to be organic when working on such steep slopes, what holds others back, and the future of chemicals in wine. 

So what are the challenges of going organic? The steep hillsides of the Rhone valley mean spraying is much easier than hand weeding. As a result of the topography, labour costs are much higher than they would be if the land was flat, says Amsellem. This means many fewer producers than you might think, given the rising interest in chemical reduction, are organic in Condrieu.

However, predicts Amsellem, herbicide sprays have little future ahead of them in France. He expects such chemical treatments to be banned in the near future. Check out our recent news and analysis round-up for more on this.

About the author

Tobias Webb

Toby Webb is co-founder of Sustainable Wine. He is also founder of Innovation Forum, a leading platform for change in sustainable supply chains. He has spent 20+ years working in business and sustainability and has spent ten years teaching the subject at various London universities. He advises a number of companies large and small on sustainability. Businesses he has worked with include Patagonia, Interface, Bayer, SOK Group, Boots/Walgreens, Metro, Unilever, Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser, Sainsbury’s, and many others. He co-authored the UK’s national CSR strategy for David Cameron from 2006-10. He has been organising events, advising, teaching writing, blogging and podcasting on sustainable business since 2001. His (non-wine) blog is at