Falset (Tarragona), 5th June 2019.- With the objective of developing a sustainable production model that seeks the conservation of the natural environment and the reduction of the environmental impact of the wine sector, the LIFE PRIORAT+MONTSANT project started in 2016 . An initiative led by VITEC (Wine Technology Center) which, for a period of 4 years, works together with the Appellations of Origin of Priorat and Montsant, the environmental consultancy Lavola 1981 and the Wine Technology Platform of Spain.
Today, with a view to June 2020 – date expected for the completion of the project – the consortium faces the last LIFE PRIORAT + MONTSANT annuity with a deep learning and some advances, which already point to tangible and beneficial results for vine growers and winemakers of the Priorat region, transferable to the entire national wine environment.
From the scientific-technical point of view, the main advances obtained by the consortium, to date, have been those related to the decrease in the use of resources, both in the field and in the winery, including water management and the use of fertilizers and phytosanitary products, in order to replace them with alternative natural products that are more respectful with the environment.
The project, whose full title is “Efficiency in the use of resources for the improvement of sustainability of vine and wine sector at Priorat region”, has a total budget of more than 1.5 million euros, of which almost 60 % has been co-financed by the European Union, within the framework of the Life Program.
WATER MANAGEMENT: EFFICIENT USE OF IRRIGATION
Based on an expected goal of 10% reduction in water consumption per ton of grape produced, during the 2016-2018 period, a total of 11 new meteorological stations were installed which, together with the existing public network stations, have allowed Complete monitoring of 14 climatic zones according to the initial experimental design.
In addition, in 9 of these 14 zones, water stress measures and maturation controls were carried out in the vineyard, providing irrigation recommendations to more than 100 hectares belonging to a total of 16 wineries.
After the analysis and monitoring of these plots, it was concluded that the reduction in water use has been much higher than the 10% expected, ranging from 21% to 87% savings in some cases. These results suppose a great impact in the wineries, so much economic as environingingmental and allow to practice a much more efficient and sustainable irrigation in all of the experimental vineyards of the LIFE project.
REDUCTION OF PHYTOSANITARIES AND FERTILIZERS
Regarding the use of phytosanitary products, during the period 2016-2018, the consortium worked on alternative natural products for the control of Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew and Lobesia Botrana. Among all the tests carried out, the use of silicon oxide and clay powder stood out due to their effectiveness, which, combined with low doses of copper, represented one of the best alternatives to the treatments against the Downy Mildew. Also, the technique of mating disruption to combat Lobesia Botrana reduced the use of phytosanitary products in 99% of the surface of the trial, currently having more than 1170 hectares of vineyards between the two appellations of origin in which this technique is applied .
To address the objective of optimizing the use of fertilizers (adequate dose and optimal time), a nutritional characterization of the vineyard was carried out by soil and leaf analysis to check the assimilation of nutrients. In total, 322 vineyards of both denominations were monitored, with a total demonstration area of 280 hectares, providing wine growers with more than 125 reports with fertilizer recommendations.
MINIMIZATION OF ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION IN THE WINERY
Based on data collected from a total of 19 wineries involved in the project, the consortium is working on a manual of good practices to improve the energy and environmental performance of the winery’s daily operations.
Recommendations that include the identification and implementation of energy efficiency practices, such as the implementation of closed circuit systems in the control of the temperature of the tanks or the adequate thermal insulation of the wineries.
In addition, a set of actions related to the reuse of bottles, optimization of routes in distribution and the use of 100% renewable energy and optimization of water consumption in the processes of storage, press, filtering and cleaning of equipment and winery surfaces were identified.
About LIFE PRIORAT+MONTSANT
LIFE PRIORAT+MONTSANT is a project which aims to develop and demonstrate a model of sustainable wine production in the Priorat region, through the application of a set of methodologies for the efficient use of natural resources throughout its value chain, which is subsequently replicable in other wine producing regions of the European Union.
VITEC (Wine Technology Center) leads this consortiated project in which the Regulatory Council of the Appellation of Origin of Montsant, the Regulatory Council of the Qualified Appellation of Origin of Priorat, the service company for sustainability Lavola 1981, SA also participate. and the Technological Wine Platform (PTV). It has a global budget of 1,529,153 euros, has the financial contribution of the LIFE + program of the European Union, and will run for four years, from July 2016 to June 2020.