This report includes the results obtained from the third participatory session organised with the Stakeholder Network of Knowledge (SNK). These activities, 3 in total, fall under Activity 6.2. of WG6 of the COPPEREPLACE project.

The objective of Activity 6.2. is to develop a space in which the SNK will actively participate by contributing to COPPEREPLACE objective 3 and materialising critical inputs at different levels: technical, legal, social, cultural, economic, environmental, etc.

Unlike the first two participatory sessions (held in February and December 2022) which were on technical aspects, this last workshop dealt with political aspects.


The Focus group (FG) was organised and executed face-to-face and hybrid, at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Barcelona.

This report presents the results of the third participatory session of the COPPEREPLACE project. On this occasion, the main objective of the session was to evaluate the results obtained in the project, to analyse the current legislation and to propose actions that can be taken for sustainable organic production.

Participants and Methodology

A total of 14 people participated in the session (12 face-to-face and 2 online), which is a convenient number for a structured Focus Group. All participants are linked to the COPPEREPLACE project as partners or members of SNK. The count does not include members of the FG organisation (PTV). The list of attendees can be found in Annex III at the end of the document.

Methodologically, the session was organised around 4 key blocks. The language used was English. The thematic blocks were structured as follows:

  1. Welcome and introduction of the project.
  2. Main technical results of the project.
  3. Results of the previous workshops.
  4. Current legislation and actions that can be taken for sustainable organic production



Firstly, a brief introduction to the project is given, explaining the consortia, the budget and financial conditions, and that the project aims to validate integrated and innovative solutions to reduce the use of copper in vineyards and its environmental impact. These solutions will also enable environmentally friendly production, in line with European policies.  To this end, the project has focused on three key points:

  • The validation of Essential Enabling Technologies in biotechnologies, using alternative products, Smart and precision agriculture and soil management strategies.
  • Implementation of sustainable and economically viable integrated crop management pathways.
  • Creation of a knowledge network for the transfer of results.

Within the framework of GT1 “Testing and implementation of emerging products to replace copper as a disease control agent in vineyards”, after carrying out technical tests in the field and the laboratory, it was found that the products that have given the best results are Glucosei or Vicure. However, the importance of giving continuity to the project was stressed to have more time and new plots to compare and have more solid data. It was stressed that during the project life, some difficulties (barriers to experimentation with the extracts) were found between countries and their national registers (different legislation), which it makes no sense at the EU level.

Regarding GT2 “Identification of soils vulnerable to copper contamination, implementation of new soil remediation techniques and impact on the re-emergence of fungal diseases”, a total of ten different soils have been analysed according to pH and organic matter content, concluding that the vulnerability of vineyard soils to copper contamination increases as soil pH decreases, as it has been observed that above pH7, the effects of copper on soil biota are significantly reduced. Therefore, the pH was the main factor to Cu availability. It has also been shown that the use of bioadsorbents that increase the pH and carbon content of the soil can help to reduce the impacts of Cu on soil biota. On the other hand, more effort from companies should be done to obtain better results from field trials (lack of expertise in this matter from the industry, not from academic partners).

GT3, focused on the “Development of new vineyard management strategies to optimise the distribution of plant protection products per spray according to best practices for canopy architecture”, has concluded that the use of innovative joint technologies (such as the use of  NDVI vigour maps and variable doses according to the vegetative development of the plant or the use of microcapsules), can help to save product (25%) and water (20%) in applications for the same level of control, resulting in economic and environmental benefits. The need to expand the use of the Variable Rate Application (VRA) was discussed. Participants agreed that currently only large companies use the VRA, when it should be made easier to reach small farmers. They considered that if this could be achieved, there would be a strong impact – in the SUDOE Region, but also in the EU as a whole – on the reduction of copper and all application products. On the other hand, the indications on copper dosage were commented on as a difficulty for farmers. Participants claimed that labels can express the dosage in kilos per hectare or in percentage, and it is not always clear for farmers. The idea behind this problem is that, in case of doubt, some farmers may be applying an excess of copper.

Regarding GT4 “Development and implementation of an integrated management system with low or no copper doses, adapted to each crop condition”, in this GT it has been observed that copper is still essential for the protection of the vineyard, it does seem possible to reduce the dose and Glucosei is the substance that showed the best results as an alternative to copper. On the other hand, the two seasons in which COPPEREPLACE has been developed have been vintages – in general – of very low mildew pressure, which is why the results of the trials cannot be extended to all climatic scenarios, although they do highlight the importance of the context when defining a phytosanitary protection strategy.

Finally, in the framework of GT5 “Economic, environmental and social impact assessment of new vineyard management tool”, a series of surveys were carried out which concluded that with the new technologies applied, optimisation of application, less product loss and less pollution were observed, adding that copper reduction was observed up to 40% and could reach up to 60% with precision techniques. A series of surveys were carried out which concluded that the new protocol applied, together with precision technics, allow up to 60% copper reduction with less product loss, good efficacy, no additional cost to the producer (only the product itself). Also, social factors play an important role in the adoption of new solutions/technologies. Altogether GT5 results showed that feasibility of COPPEREPLACE’s proposed solutions is context-dependent, being influenced mainly by production mode and downy mildew pressure, and that an integrated, holistic methodology is the best way to reduce copper reduction in vineyards.


In this block, a brief introduction was made on how the knowledge network (SNK) was formed, which is currently made up of 26 entities from the three countries (Spain, France and Portugal).

Then, the conclusions of the two technical workshops carried out previously in the framework of the GT6 were presented, which are mentioned below:

  • Facilitate experimental trials of alternatives in various countries with a view to registering new products.
  • Improve and speed up the registration of new products.
  • Harmonise labelling with the same units for product doses.
  • Promotion and transfer of new technologies (e.g. VRA).
  • Use of sustainable agricultural practices (e.g. phytodepuration, cover crops, etc.).
  • Training and transfer of knowledge, including on the farm (wine tourism).

This block starts by presenting the topic at the international level (OIV). At the OIV, Organic Production Techniques were defined in OIV-ECO 460-2012 standard, which is divided into two sections: protection of ecosystems and production and processing of grapes, as can be seen in the following picture (Source: FOCUS OIV THE WORLD ORGANIC VINEYARD 2021).

In addition, it was commented that organic viticulture techniques encompass three main actions: soil fertility, biodiversity maintenance and pest control. The latter includes fungal disease techniques: copper and sulphur. (Source: FOCUS OIV THE WORLD ORGANIC VINEYARD 2021).

At EU level, the current organic production standards in relation to the use of copper were presented and are summarised below:

  • Wine products will be made from organic raw materials (RE 203/2012).
  • Certain oenological practices are restricted/limited.
  • Sulfur limit in wines (100-150 mg/l).
  • Crop production and management: Tillage, minimizing fertilizers and organic amendments (eg: covers and green fertilizer), and Cu and S use to control pests and diseases.
  • Candidate active substances for substitution (EC 1981/2018).

Furthermore, it was pointed out that not only fertilisers (intensive use of nitrogen means waste and damage to groundwater resources) are a clear example of inputs that cause environmental impact, but also plant protection products (PPP).

It was also pointed out that there are no (fully effective) alternatives to copper in organic production, and complementary applications to the use of copper (not substitutes) were presented, including the following:

  • Animal Origin (quitosane, lactopeoxidas)
  • Biocontrol Agents (Bacillus subtilis, Trichoderma harzianum)
  • Inorganic Salts (potassium bicarbonates, phosphonates)
  • Microbione extracts (extracts from inactivated Pseudomonas aureofaciens, products based on fatty acids, derived from lignin and sugar cane)
  • Plant Extratcs (Hedera hélix, Quercus spec, Primula veris, hamnus frangula, Solidago spec, Salix spec, Chenopodium quinoa, Inula Viscosa, melaleuca alternifolia Salix alba, etc.).
  • Synthetic materials (beta-amino-butyric acid, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monoleate, clay-based products).
  • New Copper formulations

On the other hand, new R&D challenges for the reduction of copper use were presented:

  • Develop formulations with higher efficiency of copper particles.
  • Develop alternative formulations to copper that allow its minimization.
  • Reduce the treatment volume used in each application, implementing the use of optimized spray systems.
  • Reducir el caldo de tratamiento utilizado en cada aplicación, mediante el uso de sistemas de pulverización optimizada.
  • Rationalization of applications according to the level of risk epidemic, thus reducing the number of applications. Development of robust prediction models.
  • Prospecting or obtaining new tolerant/resistant varieties.

It was also commented that in Spain 8 standards will be drafted during 2023, and will be dedicated to implementing Sustainable Production in Agriculture (Viticulture included) among them, a new Standard for 2023 is expected in the Sustainable use of phytosanitary products.

Finally, it was mentioned that 2025 will see new legislation on organic viticulture, but that it is unlikely to avoid or reduce the use of Cu without alternatives.