Ithaka Institut

First Biochar Field Trial in Winegrowing

In 2008, the Ithaka Institute set-up it's first large scale field trial with biochar. In a steep Pinot Noir vineyard of 3000 m2, we tested charcoal powder at 10 t per hectare mixed with 30 t / ha compost against 30 t / ha of compost without biochar and a non-amended control. All treatments were seeded with a mixture of legumes. It was one of the two first biochar field trials in Europe and the results seemed at first spectacular.

The legume green cover suffered much less from the summer drought in 2008, grape yield and especially grape quality seemed tremendously improved. However, as it was only a first practical trial in the early days of biochar with insufficient characterisation of the charcoal and an inappropriate set-up for statistical analysis, the results had only a minor scientific value. But we have seen enough in this first year of the trial to engage more seriously in biochar science and technology. Since then we set-up plenty of field trials, developed biochar composting and lactic fermentation, produced soil substrates and biochar fertilizer and designed special biochars for special agronomic purposes.


Europe's first biochar field trial, set-up 2008 in the Mythopia vineyards in Valais (Switzerland). Please finde more information about this trial in the Ithaka Journal (Biochar in Vineyards and Biochar in Viticulture - new results)


Harvest time in the biochar field trial plot 2008.