Whilst Spain boasts the greatest amount of land given over to vineyards (965,000 Ha), it stands in 10th position in terms of the number of different varieties of grape grown. A significant amount of plant material has been lost over the last few decades. To contain this erosion of the plant stock we undertook a research project, in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza, to classify minority grape varieties in Somontano. We found and classified two unique varieties – “Secastilla muscatel” and “alcañón royo” - neither of which was listed in any existing database. Both varieties are still being grown in one of the vineyards we own. This vineyard is more than 70 years old and we are currently propagating the two varieties to prevent them from becoming extinct.
Parraleta, Moristel and Alcañón are varieties of grape that are indigenous to Somontano. For several years now we have been working with a number of local organisations and specialist nurseries that specialise in classifying grape varieties, making them healthy and propagating them. In our new plantings these varieties are given the amount of space their history merits.
Our entire output is grown to integrated crop management systems. We also take these practices further, to organic viticulture standards, which translates into organic wines that are available in the international marketplace. Instead of using herbicides we use mechanical processes, instead of insecticides we use sexual confusion, we practice canopy management instead of applying fungicides and use copper and sulphur instead of synthetic fertilizers.
We are well aware of the need to preserve this scarce and precious natural resource so apply irrigation techniques that minimise the amount of water used, such as drip irrigation, which is done at night and monitored by means of humidity gauges.
As for the winery, the water used in the process of making the wine is purified and all of it is re-used to irrigate the vineyards closest to the winery so that there is no loss of waste water.
Also, we are signed up to the European Life+ Rewind programme, which means the energy used for purifying and irrigating can be recycled thanks to three photovoltaic arrays installed at the purification plant itself.
Growing vines uses a huge amount of phytosanitary consumables. We are aware of this at Viñas del Vero so practice precision viticulture, deploying ICT technology in order to apply the exact doses required and thus reduce the use of these products. We are currently leading a research project under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Competition titled Retmavid, which amongst other things is researching variable dosage of plant health products and rootstock diseases.
We are also trialling cultivating “piwi” vines. Developed by universities in Italy (Udine) and Germany (Frieburg) these vines have very high levels of resistance to fungal disease and our involvement is helping ascertain their level of resistance and the suitability of the grapes they produce for making wine.
As a way of helping fight climate change we are looking into ways of using hydrogen as a fuel in agricultural machinery.
Nuevamente en el marco del proyecto Life+ Rewind, en su vertiente agrícola, estamos desarrollando, junto a la Universidad de Zaragoza y Liftec-Csic un vehículo propulsado por hidrógeno procedente de la hidrólisis de agua, a partir de energías renovables.
Under the aegis of the agricultural component of the Life+ Rewind project and in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza and Lifte-Csic, we are developing a vehicle powered by hydrogen produced by water hydrolysis, produced in turn by renewable energy.