VitiFIT - Healthy vines in organic viticulture through research, innovation and transfer

VitiFIT - healthy vines
in organic viticulture through research, innovation and transfer


Project duration: August 2019 to July 2024

Funded by the Federal Organic Farming Program and other forms of sustainable agriculture


Contact person - Sub-project resistent garpe varieties and crop protection, DLR Rheinpfalz:        


In viticulture, the massive occurrence of downy mildew can lead to considerable yield losses or loss of quality for organic winegrowers, which in some cases can threaten their existence. In organic viticulture, copper-containing pesticides are currently the only effective and approved way to control the downy mildew pathogen. Other preparations permitted under current EU legislation have not yet shown sufficient efficacy. In general, a maximum of 6 kg pure copper/ha per year may be applied in the EU (EUCOM, 2008), whereas in Germany only 3 kg pure copper/ha per year are permitted. The complete omission of copper preparations is not yet possible in viticulture, as this can lead to yield losses of 50-100% (Eisenmann 2017). Against the background of the discussed risks of the use of copper as a pesticide and the resulting uncertain prospects for the approval of copper products in viticulture, the use of copper should be minimised, especially in ecological viticulture. Since no alternative, biological pesticides are yet available that could replace copper, the objectives of this project are the development and testing of combined, integrated plant protection strategies for the sustainable and environmentally compatible control of downy mildew in grapevines while at the same time reducing the use of copper in organic viticulture. For this purpose, direct actions such as the use and development of new biological plant strengthening products will be carried out and their potential for reducing the number of copper treatments and copper concentrations will be evaluated. At the same time, these direct actions will be combined with indirect approaches, such as the cultivation of fungus-resistant grape varieties and cultural technical methods in field trials, in order to minimise the risk of downy mildew infection and, at the same time, secure the yield of winegrowers.


In addition to the Weincampus Neustadt and DLR Rheinpfalz, the project involves DLR Rheinhessen-Nahe-Hunsrück, the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences, the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Julius Kühn Institute in Siebeldingen, the Weinbauinstitut Freiburg and the Bayerische Landesanstalt für Wein- und Gartenbau in Veitshöchheim. The organic associations Bioland, Demeter, ECOVIN and Naturland are important partners due to their proximity to practice.



More information on the VitiFIT research project