Adapting vineyards to a changing climate: Torres look to the future
Catalan producer Torres is experimenting with new innovations to tackle climate change in the vineyard.
In the face of rising temperatures and more frequent droughts, what can wine producers do to adapt their viticultural practices? Catalan producer Torres, which has emerged during the past decade as one of the global wine sector’s leading pioneers in tackling climate change, is experimenting with a range of creative ideas.
Planting vines at higher altitudes is one option. The company is investing in cooler vineyards high in the mountains of the region. They have planted vines in Tremp at 950m in the foothills of the Catalan Pyrenees and bought land in Benabarre at 1,200m. Benabarre is currently too cold for producing grapes, but Torres have no doubt that they will be planting vines there in the future, as temperatures continue to rise.
The latest project is a tiny, steep vineyard at Els Tossals, at the end of a long, tortuous track, with stunning views over the hills of Priorat and intense aromas of wild thyme and herbs. At 750m, it is the appellation’s highest vineyard planted in slate – and it is cold: the grapes ripen slowly here and the few that have been harvested so far were picked in mid-November.
Miguel Torres Maczassek, Torres’ fifth-generation managing director, has high expectations of the young Garnacha and Cariñena vines at Els Tossals. ‘Older people in the area thought we were crazy when we planted here. Viticulture was abandoned years ago because it was so tough. Given the challenge our generation faces, we have to adapt – sometimes by changing grape varieties, but sometimes by planting higher. We are living at a time when wine maps everywhere will have to change.’
By Rupert Joy | Decanter
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