A group of Spanish wineries has signed the Barcelona Declaration, pledging to combat climate change.
The Declaration, which formed a major theme of the Wineries for Climate Protection conference which took place in Barcelona on Friday, was signed at a ceremony on Thursday night in the town hall in the centre of the Catalan capital.
Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile and now UN special envoy for climate change, chaired the meeting.
Also present were senior figures from the Spanish wine world such as Miguel Torres of Torres, Mar Raventós of Codorniu and Pablo Alvarez of Vega Sicilia, as well as representatives from the different Spanish consejos reguladores (wine trade bodies), members of the OIV (the international wine organisation) and the FEV (Federación Española del Vino).
The Barcelona Declaration sets out ten criteria wineries must adhere to in order to produce wine in a genuinely sustainable fashion. At least 1000 Spanish wineries have signed.
Miguel Torres, one of the architects of the Declation and a major sponsor of the conference, said the Declaration would be rolled out across Spain and into other winemaking countries over the next few years.
The Declaration has the backing of the Catalan government, Torres told Decanter.com.
He added that he had already had conversations with Federvini, the Italian wine federation and ‘would be visiting Burgundy next week’.
Torres acknowledged that at present the Declaration’s ten points ‘needed to be made concrete’ and to that end they would establish a method of auditing signatory wineries, possibly using the services of consultants such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a sponsor of Wineries for Climate Change.
Torres said another task facing Wineries for Climate Change was to get the backing of the public.
He did not believe putting a logo on wine labels was productive ‘as we know that people don’t pay attention to labels in that way’.
One method, he said, might be to send a list of all signatory wineries to the supermarkets in major consumer countries, leaving them to decide on the best way of marketing the wine.
Those who sign the declaration pledge to reduce their carbon footprint per bottle by 20% by 2020, as specified by EU guidelines, to make all buildings sustainable, to use only renewable energy, to conserve biodiversity and to limit the use of chemicals.
The ‘water footprint’ must be reduced by optimising water use per bottle, packaging must be produced with minimal impact on nature, waste must be reduced using recycling and recovery of materials, with the products of the winery – such as pruned shoots – used as raw material for production.
Finally the environmental impact of distribution must be minimized, research projects should be developed to achieve minimum natural resource use and limit emissions, and wineries must educate their staff and suppliers about best environmental practice.
Torres, who is one of the international wine world’s leading climate change activists, said wineries should put self-interest aside for the good of the environment.
‘It is important that we give up any individual advantage. The whole wine sector needs to get together, and slowly we can show how it can be done.’
Written by Adam Lechmere