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MIGUEL A. TORRES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND WINE MAKING – MUST-FERMENTING IDEAS WINE SUMMIT

As I noted in my last post (LINK), I spent three pretty amazing days at this Wine Summit (LINK) in Cascais/Estoríl, Portugal. The summit covered a number of topics over its three-day length – but climate change was perhaps the most repeated and most critical. I will dedicate this post to Senõr Torres’ presentation alone. Most future posts will cover more than one presentation.

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None other than Miguel A. Torres, President and Managing Director of Bodegas Torres, and is a member of the fourth generation of this family business. His topic was “Climate Crisis and Its Consequences for the European Viniculture.” As a global wine company, Bodegas Torres is faced with many challenges, including growing grapes and making wine in a number of different locations with different climate patterns, business practices, and political environments. Senior Torres noted that, in his mind, climate change is the most important issue and his company is dedicating 11% of profits for programs researching and mitigating climate change.

“We have not sold one more bottle due to steps we have taken (regarding climate change).”

~ Miguel A. Torres

This statement speaks volumes – much of the work required to mitigate the effects of climate change does not increase sales, but, in the long term, it may well preserve them. Senõr Torres showed a series of slides on what climate change is and on what Bodega Torres is doing to mitigate its effects.

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Here are a few of the things they are doing:

 

Minimizing chemical and pesticide use (reducing below organicó requirements):

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Reintroducing ancestral Catalan varieties which are more resistant to heat:

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Examining introduction of distinctly foreign varieties into growing areas:

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Reduction in energy consumption – electric vehicles, solar panels, etc.:

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Studying bottling and packaging materials to reduce weight and waste:

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Studying Carbon Capture and Reuse (CSR) in the fermentation process:

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Participate in the EU carbon emissions reduction program (Greta Thunberg):

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Active Participation & Leadership in International Wineries for Climate Action Group:

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Senõr Torres is clearly passionate about being proactive about climate change and is taking a global perspective fitting for a global company. Torres Wines are made in Spain, Italy, Chile, and the United States (California). He noted that the approach to climate change is different in each location, as are the political issues relating to climate change. And he had some advice for property owners:

“For those of you who live near the sea, it is time to sell. Don’t wait!”

~ Miguel A. Torres

During the Q&A session, I had the opportunity to ask a question, and I opened with this comment:

“I go to a lot of conferences and events, and you’re the first person of your stature in this, or any industry to take such a strong stance on climate change.”

~ Me to Miguel A. Torres at MUST-Fermenting Ideas

The wine industry, especially its vineyards, are like the canaries in the coal mine for the effects of climate change. Those who are not investing in taking actions like Bodega Torres may increasingly find themselves with damaged products, and eventually with none.

As always, your comments are welcomed!

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Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard