Friday, April 8, 2011

Is milk the natural answer to mildew?

There's an interesting post on the Australian website ABC rural about a biodynamic winemaker Chris Carpenter of Lark Hill who is using milk and chamomile tea to ward off mildew.

Apparently the season has been so wet that many growers haven't been picking at all but Carpenter says his vines have been relatively unaffected

"There's a protein in milk that feeds good fungi on the vine leaves, and it produces an environment that isn't very hospitable to downy mildew" he's quoted as saying.

I discovered from a quick search on Google the treatment isn't new. It was discovered by a Brazilian scientist Wagner Bettiol who published a paper on it back in 1999. There are more detailed explanations of how to use it here and here on a site called Vine Views.


  1. We also use milk and chamomile to ward off mildew. We've also started testing a local plant called sour fig which has anti-fungul properties. We shall see if it works as well..
    Great blog by the way!

  2. Thanks, Louis. I'd be interested to hear how the sour fig works.

  3. This could be a new market for the over-producing European dairy farmers!
    A friend of mine, an excellent lettuce grower in “Salanque” (i.e. the sandy marsh area between the city of Perpignan and the sea), sprays ordinary cow milk onto the bottom of his plants as a ... rabbit-deterrent. By turning sour, the milk prevents the rodents from having a go at the tender leaves. Ever hared of that ?

  4. Never! Doesn't sound as if it would do much for the flavour of the lettuces but clearly he knows what he's doing. Will look out for his lettuces when we're down in the region in a couple of weeks' time!