Why is there so much talk about Regenerative Viticulture?

Sustainability

17/03/2023

For some time now, the effects of climate change have been drastically affecting the planet. At Jean Leon we are increasingly aware of this reality, and we are committed to acquiring more sustainable habits to improve the planet we live in, reduce our carbon footprint and produce more sustainable and authentic wines.  

Drastic temperature changes are not only affecting humans, but also agriculture, which is suffering changes in crops and harvest times. 

What is Regenerative Viticulture? 

Regenerative viticulture tries to restore the natural ecosystem using techniques that respect and increase the biodiversity of the ecosystem and, therefore, make it more resilient to changes. They also mitigate the effects of climate change without losing quality in the final product. 

The objectives of implementing regenerative viticulture are:

  • The implementation of different plant covers in the vineyard to obtain regenerated soils, with better availability of water and nutrients capable of nourishing the soil at different times of the vegetative cycle and the mineral needs required by the vineyard at each moment.
  • Increase soil microbial biodiversity.
  • Obtain soils with a higher organic matter content to better retain rainwater.  For every 1% increase in organic matter, 240,000 l/Ha of water retention in soils can be increased.
  • Encourage carbon fixation in the soil thanks to the conditions created by the changes in the soil and the complex of microorganisms.
  • Encourage biodiversity by creating biological corridors. In and around vineyards, encouraging different species of plants, trees, birds, insects and other animals.
  • Reduce erosion: Apply practices that minimize or eliminate the risk of soil erosion, avoiding tilling the soil as much as possible and also installing plant covers.

This type of practice is intended to promote sustainable viticulture, raising awareness of the regenerative movement, closing the circle between producer and consumer.

International Certification Regenerative Viticulture Alliance (RVA)

At the beginning of 2023, the international certification of Regenerative Viticulture was launched. This is the most important certification for regenerative viticulture worldwide. 

The aim is to recognize all those winegrowers and winemakers who apply regenerative viticulture in their daily work and improve the soils where grapes are produced. All those wines that come from regenerative vineyards and, therefore, contribute to curb global warming.

Phases of regenerative viticulture certification

Once regenerative viticulture techniques are implemented, it is important to monitor them closely.

Regenerative viticulture

Regenerative viticulture practices

Regenerative viticulture practices

Planting cover crops

This is to maintain the plants around the vineyards to reduce soil erosion and prevent the drying out of soil microbial communities as a result of soil exposure. 

Planting cover crops will suppress weeds, recycle all nutrients back into the soil, increase soil organic matter, and thus increase soil moisture. 

Use of compost

Adding compost in the vineyard can increase soil organic matter and improve soil structure, the water holding capacity of the soil, helping growers to produce a good crop even those years with low rainfall.

Elimination of chemical synthesis products 

At Jean Leon, we have been implementing organic viticulture for many years. In fact, since 2008, we have stopped using synthetic chemical products in the vineyards.

Planting trees and/or shrubs

Jean Leon is surrounded by fields, forests and vineyards. Agroforestry improves soil protection, carbon sequestration, soil moisture retention rates and biodiversity, mitigates temperature fluctuations and at the same time increases income due to the simultaneous production of trees, shrubs and crops. 

Reducing soil compaction

One of the main problems faced by agricultural soil is being exposed to extreme weather conditions, causing soils to tend toward compaction.

Compaction is also due to the number of times the machinery passes over the agricultural soil. That is why, at Jean Leon, we try to reduce the passage of machines to a minimum and perform decompaction tasks. 

Caring for our soils means preserving the land for future generations. Through the promotion of viticultural practices, we preserve the planet and its people.

Categorías: Sustainability