IGEM Bordeaux 2015


A bit of French Touch

The production of Bordeaux is 6.4 million hectoliters with only 14% for white wines. More than 850 million bottles are sold every year and worth almost € 3.7 billion. Today, the red wines represent 86% of total volumes produced by the vineyards of Bordeaux, 89% of exports in volume and 92% in value. The Bordeaux vineyard now covers 123,000 hectares for 270,000 hectares of farmland. The climate and the terroir is particulary favourable for a exceptionnal vineyard. Indeed, soils and Girondins basements are rather shallow. The Gironde, the Garonne and the Dordogne make the climate cool and provide the water needed by the vineyard. On the left side of the Gironde and Garonne, there is gravelly, sandy, clay soil made by the erosion of the Pyrenees. On the other side, soils are likely limestone wich is suitable for vineyard. The warm ocean current of the Gulf Stream accentuates the temperate climate and the Landes forest forms a protective shield against the winds of the ocean.

One of the caracteristics of the bordeaux vineyard is the great diversity of the grape variety, we can find lots of grapes :
Reds: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot.
Whites: Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc, Colombard.

Some mildew key figures

15 is , on average, the number of treatments that had to make a winemaker in 2012 to fight against mildew.
11 ° C is the minimum temperature required for initiation of primary infections in the spring.
€ 246 per ha is the average investment of a winemaker in France in 2012 for his fight against mildew.
4 days this is the optimal time necessary to complete mildew its entire cycle from contamination by spore until the following sporulation.
1878 is the year when the mildew , Plasmopara viticola , was observed for the first time in France.

Treatments against mildew have a cost that varies between € 50,000 and € 164,000 per year.Over the last 20 years, no less than 3 mildew epidemics were recorded in France . These outbreaks have a direct impact on the production of wine. As shown in the graph below, represents the number of hL (millions) produced over time , production in 1998 , 2001 and 2006 dropped by over 50 % compared to previous years. You can find on the vinopôle website the evolution of mildiou risk every week !

In 2010, each hectar or grapevine had received around 16 chemical treatments (this number was 15 in 2006) and varies greatly between regions. Amongst the biological threats on grapevine, mushroom parasites are far ahead of insects and fungi (12 fungicides are used against 2 insecticides and 2 weedkillers). Over 95% of the fongicide treatments in 2010 were due to mildew and oidium, sicknesses that are favorized by rain, humidity and heat. They bring the global quality of the wine down by reducing it's composition in phenols and sugars. The risc of contamination on the leaves begin during the period where the floral buds and futur grapes are growing and lasts until the moment when the grapes touch each other. The sensibility period between oidium and mildew have common momments and vinyards don't heasitate to mix anti-mildew and anti-oidium solutions making the concentrations of these chemicals twice more concentrated in the grounds.

Downy mildew requires optimum conditions to reproduce and infect. A warm, moist, and humid environment is required. Studies in Sicily have shown optimum time for oospore germination is between the end of February and the middle of March. With this understanding, if fungicides are used just before these conditions occur, and have proven to be efficient measures. Other methods include proper watering, and a good location where the plant can receive continual sunlight.

Reference : / / / www.vinopô

Business time : SWOT Analysis

Using Strengths to take Advantage of Opportunities
The reproducibility of our project and the high quantities of E. coli and Saccharomyces c. are in line with the future demand of vineyards.
Using Strengths to avoid Threats
The Curdlan ecological argue will convince biovineyards to use it. Indeed, we told you before that Bouillie Bordelaise wasn't good for the ground whereas Curdlan hasn't side effect on it.
Overcoming Weaknesses by taking Advantage of Opportunities
The Lack of expertise and our limited synthetic biology knowledge are overcome by our PhD presence.
Minimizing Weaknesses to avoid Threats
Being undergraduate and inexperienced team leaves us in a questionnable position compete against experienced laboratories. Moreover, our no recoil on the project may not be interested laboratories and societies.

iGEM Bordeaux: Contacting vineyards

To try to see the effect that mildew has on wine producers, iGEM Bordeaux contacted numerous castles in the region and attended the two biggest wine assemblies in Bordeaux: La foire au vin and Vinexpo. This allowed us to speak to the producers on how much their production is threatened by oomycetes such as mildew and to see if they would eventually be interested in an alternative preventive solution that would be eco-friendly. At the same time, this allowed us to search for sponsors in the region to raise money for our lab work. Unfortunately, since these assemblies bring together mostly the commercial team who's aim is to land big clients, our sponsoring wasn't successful.