Torres & Waitrose: Green thinking innovations for wine-lovers in 2020

With images of forests and vineyards burning in the world media, the message that the wine industry sits on the frontline of climate change is strikingly clear. So far the pressure is with the those producers who are, at best, trying to mitigate and adapt, and at worst, just trying to survive. At the consumer end things are changing too, as the industry seeks new ways to communicate.

 

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Forest fires - A Portuguese winemakers personal tale

On a recent trip to northeast Portugal, I met Vanessa Perdigão, an artist and, with her husband, a winemaker in the Dão region, under the name of Quinta do Perdigão. We met many wine producers and tasted a great selection of Encruzado’s and Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, and Tinto Roriz wines. The high quality of these wines I’ll write about in a separate piece very shortly. 

What struck us as we drove between tastings was the huge numbers of charred trees, bleakly huddled together, shocked and petrified. The story told here by Vanessa is an account of the fire that took place in 2017 that decimated the land, natural habitats, peoples homes and their lives, as well as leaving a haunting imprint of the terror that nature can wield.

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Burgundy harvest dates since 1988 jump forward 13 days compared to past 664 years

A newly published series of dates of grape harvest covering the past 664 years is the latest line of evidence confirming how unusual the climate of the past 30 years has been. The record shows wine grapes in Burgundy, eastern France, have been picked 13 days earlier on average since 1988 than they were in the previous six centuries, pointing to the region’s hotter and drier climate in recent years.

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New fogging tech can protect vines from frost & heat stress

Research has long shown that fog with water droplets of a certain size can significantly reduce, or even entirely prevent, crop damage from frost or excessive heat temperatures. The reason for this is that the individual droplets in the mist cloud reflect the long-wavelength heat radiation that transmits energy from solid objects under these conditions.

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Denbies new vineyard hotel appeals to a new green-power generation

It was ten years ago when I first started taking a serious interest in what scientists were saying about climate change risks. Back then the data was pointing very clearly to a rapidly rising global mean temperature that poses existential risks to our society. Today those risks are becoming materially tangible and, thankfully, so is the human response to them.

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Champagne Krug CEO discusses the mission to preserve freshness in a warmer world

Luxury Champagne brands like Krug have a surprising story to tell of long-term committed action to tackle sustainability and build a climate-conscious culture with their company. Margareth Henriquez, CEO of the Krug, and President of LVMH’s Wines & Estates, here tells us why her company has a lot to share and nothing to hide when it comes to facing up to climate change.

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Irrigating wine crops is no longer sustainable! Linda Johnson-Bell makes the case for ‘Dry-Farming’

As water becomes more scarce, the wine industry will come under more and more pressure to stop irrigating and move towards completely sustainable water management and usage. Linda Johnson-Bell is a wine author and critic who sees the writing on the wall for producers who tap water supplies to irrigate what is essentially a luxury product.

A good example of this is the court case in California where a vineyard company owned by the Harvard Endowment Fund is being sued by agricultural neighbours for buying up rights to use ground water ponds to irrigate their vines. One of the plaintiffs in the case is actually a wine producer using Dry Farming techniques. 

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Is the style of Champagne Bollinger changing due to climate change? Interview with Chef de Cave, Gilles Descotes

The Champagne region has overall taken a decisive stance on climate action and here Gilles Descotes from Champagne Bollinger tells the not often heard story of what is going on in the vineyards and what steps are being taken to reduce further impacts down the road.

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Miguel Torres: "I'm an oenologist & realised the consequences for the vineyards were going to be terrible"

Miguel Torres has long been the most outspoken proponent for action to face up to climate change in the wine industry. In this candid interview, he talks about the pressures his global business faces today and the actions his team has taken in response, to mitigate and adapt. He also emphasises that action on climate change is in his company and family DNA and that he is joining the youth movement in demonstrating for climate action.

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Interview: Gerard Bertrand discusses biodynamics, climate change, and why he strives for the taste of “somewhere” rather than “something”

Former professional rugby player turned winemaker, Gerard Bertrand, currently runs 13 wine estates and has won accolades such as the IWC’s Red Winemaker of the Year 2012. 

Here Gerard talks to us about the special role wine plays in our lives and, as we confront increasing environmental challenges, how the wine industry can set an example in agriculture, pushing for organic and biodynamic practices. 

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