Wine world needs more urgency on climate change, says Torres

Most people in the wine industry still do not understand the urgency of acting together against climate change, Spain's Miguel Torres has warned.

Speaking at a Familia Torres climate change course, Miguel Torres said it was disappointing that ‘only 20’ wineries in Spain had joined the Wineries for Climate Protection group that the producer set up in 2011.

‘Many people in the wine world still don’t understand the urgency of climate change,’ he said at the event, held in Penedes on 5 April.

Torres has recently sought to expand the initiative in partnership with the US wine firm Jackson Family Wines by announcing the formation of International Wineries for Climate Action.

Focus on carbon capture

While several wineries around the world have been involved in research and initiatives designed to reduce both energy use and the effects of climate change, Torres called for a greater focus on technology in the cellar.

‘Thousands of tonnes of CO2 are emitted during the fermentation process,’ he said. ‘We need to focus on carbon capture and reuse.’

The Catalonia-based company is working with German technology firm Exytron to trial a smart energy system capable of turning CO2 captured during fermentation into recyclable material for the production of compressed natural gas, such as methane.

The gas is then used to fuel forklift trucks and other winery transport.

Torres said his company has invested more than €15 million in energy efficiency, renewable energy use and eco-efficient transportation.

He said the group was on-track to cut carbon emissions by 30% per bottle of wine by 2020, compared to 2008 levels. It plans to achieve reductions of 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2045.

Miriea Torres Maczassek, who is responsible for innovation at Torres, said that she was concerned that southern Europe is forecast to experience a significant increase in temperatures and a huge drop in rainfall over coming decades.

‘We are currently heading for runaway climate change’, said Dr Miguel Rossell, a climate expert working at Torres. ‘CO2 management is crucial to drastic emissions reduction.’

Look out for Rupert Joy’s climate change and wine feature in the July 2019 issue of Decanter. 


See also: Obama urges wine industry to collaborate on climate change