Familia Torres | Regeneratieve wijnbouwtechnieken om CO2 op te slaan

Familia Torres gaat onverdroten voort met haar acties om de klimaatverandering beheersbaar te maken. Nu zet zij zich in voor regeneratieve druiventeelt. Regeneratieve technieken herstellen het evenwicht van de bodem en hun vermogen om atmosferisch CO2 te fixeren.

Torres wil binnen vijf jaar meer dan 500 hectare van zijn biologische wijngaarden in Catalonië transformeren. Het regeneratieve model zal de Familia Torres helpen om zijn milieuverplichting na te komen: een positieve impact op het klimaat tegen 2050.

Het plan van Familia Torres omvat de conversie gedurende vijf jaar van meer dan 500 hectare biologische wijngaarden die eigendom zijn van de familie en verspreid zijn over de Penedès, Priorat, Conca de Barberà en Costers del Segre. Sommige van de regeneratieve methoden worden momenteel al gebruikt als onderdeel van het wijngaardbeheer, terwijl aanvullende conversies ook geleidelijk zullen worden geïmplementeerd om de bodem te regenereren. Om te beginnen zullen proeven worden gedaan op de volgende landgoederen: Mas La Plana in Pacs del Penedès (DO Penedès), Mas de la Rosa in Porrera (DOQ Priorat), Milmanda in Vimbodí i Poblet (DO Conca de Barberà), en in de wijngaarden van Jean Leon, waar al verschillende projecten worden uitgevoerd.

Volgens Miguel Torres Maczassek, General Director van Familia Torres en van de 5e generatie: “We’re aware that this is a long learning process where we’ll also have to ‘unlearn’ to find a new balance.” En: “It’s a paradigm shift in vineyard management, but we believe that it’s necessary because regenerative grape growing is currently the only solution that makes it possible to store atmospheric carbon in the soil and fight against climate change.”

NL tekst ©CharlottevanZummeren

For Familia Torres, organic grape growing is one step in the right direction, but it is not enough faced with the challenge of the climate emergency, since organic practice does not cover CO2 emissions and fixing. The foundations of the regenerative or holistic agriculture models are based on the principles of organic agriculture but go further as they also include the goal of recovering the life of the soils. This, by extension, contributes directly to increasing the soils’ ability to capture and fix atmospheric carbon and thus reduce the concentrations of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, one of the causes of global warming.

Regenerative grape growing: a key to improving the quality of the soils, the wines, and the environment

Regenerative agriculture seeks to restore the natural ecosystem based on eco-friendly techniques that bring together age-old know-how and modern technology. Its main pillars are increasing soil organic matter naturally; not plowing by turning the earth to avoid damaging the surface and prevent the release of the carbon stored in the soil; using ground cover to maximize the assimilation of atmospheric CO2 and increase biodiversity.

To increase organic matter, the regenerative model includes different strategies such as the use of organic compost and animals – e.g. sheep in the vineyards – to encourage soil fertilization naturally. More fertile soil facilitates the appearance of spontaneous or sewn ground cover, which will increase the accumulation of carbon in the roots and the soil. With all of these actions together, it is estimated that the soil could fix around three tons of CO2 per hectare per year.

Based on the experimentation carried out so far, cover crops in the vineyards favor a decrease in production. Moreover, soil with more life makes it possible to retain rainwater and get through periods of drought more easily, also avoiding soil erosion. The long-term aim is to achieve a delay in grape ripening that will make it possible to partially mitigate the premature harvests caused by global warming. Finally, the increase in biodiversity as a result of a higher amount of organic matter in the soil promotes a better balance in the vineyard and the creation of a more stable ecosystem that will give the vines natural defenses against possible pests and diseases.

For Miguel Torres, “All of the aspects that are a result of having more alive, balanced soils are very positive in vine-growing that’s aimed at high-quality wines and against a backdrop of climate change. These regenerative techniques will not only help us to make better wines, but they’ll also allow us to turn our vineyards into big carbon sinks, and this way, we may contribute to slowing down climate change.”

The philosophy of more holistic or less interventionist agriculture has been promoted by names in the field such as Allan Savory and Masanobu Fukuoka, among others. Conventional agriculture based on agrochemicals and the over-exploitation of land has caused the degradation and desertification of millions of hectares around the world. This wasteland is unable to store atmospheric carbon. It is, therefore, necessary to rethink conventional farming models to incorporate regenerative practices. Regenerative agriculture means doing a 180 with regard to conventional agriculture, and also in terms of traditional grape-growing practices, but still it has clear advantages for high-quality grape growing, especially in Mediterranean climates.

Having a positive impact on the climate: Familia Torres’ commitment by 2050

The fifth generation of Familia Torres makes this commitment to regenerative agriculture as part of Torres & Earth, the environmental program launched in 2007 to help to fight climate change.

The use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency measures, sustainable mobility, and reduced bottle weight, among other actions, have enabled the winery to reduce its CO2 emissions per bottle (direct and indirect) by 30% between 2008 and 2019. Now, Familia Torres is aiming its efforts at capturing and fixing CO2 by promoting projects such as the reforestation of Chilean Patagonia, carbon capture reuse (CCR) technology, and regenerative practices. Its goal is to reduce its carbon footprint by 55% by 2030 and have a positive impact on the climate (“climate positive”) from 2050.

Familia Torres has cofounded, together with the Californian winery Jackson Family Wines, the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) association, currently made up of ten wineries from six countries, to promote the decarbonization of the wine industry at a global level. IWCA has a regenerative grape-growing working group.

 


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