Murbach Viticulture New Treatment for Diseases

The Pesticides Say Ozone?

Translation from the Dernieres Nouvelle d’Alsace Newspaper. By Journalist Mathieu Pfeffer. April 3rd 2013.

In the yellow tank, water; in the gray box, the manufacture of Ozone; and an engine to make everything work.

The American Industrialist Ernie Wilmink developed a system of treating the vines by using Ozonated Water, thus hoping to replace pesticides. He passed through Murbach last week, before setting off to conquer the European Market.

At age 65, Ernie Wilmink is currently settled in Lindsay, a small (229 inhabitants) Nebraska farm village, located in the geographic center of the United States. This quiet giant (over 6 foot) has not said his last word in business. After forty years working in the field of water treatment - including more than half of that time developing technologies around disinfection by using Ozone - Ernie Wilmink began to apply these methods to agriculture, and in particular the grape vine.

Traces of pesticides found in a vast majority of wines deplore Americans. "This is not satisfactory, especially if we want to take this famous 'going green' seriously. Hence my idea of using Ozone for agriculture, and in particular for wine where pesticides are widely used," says Wilmink. The entire process was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other various agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (Federal Agency of Food and Drug Products) and U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), who reported the technology is without risk for the consumer.

Machines designed by AgriOzein, Ernie Wilmink’s Corporation, have already found buyers in the United States. “The order book is full. I turn now to Europe."

Wilmink has already found interested winemakers in Germany’s Rheingau and Franconia Region, as well as in the Bordeaux Region. France, and particularly Alsace where he used to stay for his holidays (hence its presence in Murbach), is a potentially important market for him, but he has stated several times: “We don’t yet sell in Europe. We would still like to do research of different varieties in different climates. We are in the testing phase in Europe. Each vineyard has its peculiarities in terms of diseases and resistance. That’s why I am looking for growers interested in this technology who are ready to work on the specifics of the Alsatian Vineyards. I propose even to lend them a craft first." This is important insofar as the base price of a machine for Ozone Therapy is approximately $22,000.00 (or a little over 17,000 EUR).


The equipment designed by Ernie Wilmink and his team mixes water and Ozone (made on site) to spray onto the vines, overcoming the different diseases found in the vineyards. Ozone is a gas with a high oxidation potential, which makes it a very powerful disinfectant. The contact time with a plant is very short (only a few seconds) and the very short half-life of Ozone (just minutes when dissolved in water) cause no trace to be found at harvest time. The excess Ozone quickly auto-decomposes to produce oxygen. According to studies by Mr. Wilmink, 330 liters of Ozonated water per hectare would be required every 7 to 10 days.

DNA, Wednesday April 03, 2013- All rights of reproduction reserved.