The science and genetics of wine preservation

Organic or biodynamic, free or natural. Call it whatever you like, but sustainability in viticulture is one of the big issues right now. Small producers with a true green spirit began to practice it many years ago, the “anti-Bastien” that the world wine establishment regarded with a certain suspicion. Then, in the face of consumers’ growing interest in protecting health and the environment, as well as the issue of climate change, what might seem a fashion phenomenon became an urgent need and even major brands realized that the future of viticulture lay in making the entire production process sustainable, from the ground to the basement. On the other hand, when you see your neighbor on the vineyard working responsibly and receiving healthy grapes and increasingly prestigious honors, then a real desire to imitate fires.

Thus, the demand for organic, bio or simply natural wines is constantly increasing. Globally, in the past twenty years, the area of ​​certified vineyards has increased on average by 13% per year, while the area of ​​non-organic has decreased by 0.4% per year. A study by International Wine and Spirits Research estimates that by 2023, the world’s organic wines could reach production potential of 2 billion bottles, driven by the three locomotives of Italy, France and Spain, which together account for 75% of the world’s biological vineyards. However, the green phenomenon is not the only tool available to achieve effective resilience. Also because the Wine Atlas is an ever-evolving book. Today, the most famous grape-growing areas are located in rather narrow geographic ranges, which makes them more sensitive to the influences of climate than is usually the case for other crops. A slight difference – a little more rain, more sunshine – is enough to change the style, character and significance of the wine.
Climate change is causing and managing an increasingly complex global warming for those who work in direct contact with the Earth. In a recent study, Prof Gregory JonesIn 50 years, a climatologist at the University of Southern Oregon in the United States says, the geographical range suitable for growing grapes rapidly approached 180 kilometers from the poles. Therefore, it is more and more legitimate to ask: will the green valleys of Scotland soon be invaded by cuttings? Do Icelanders make pink wine? And will Burgundy winemakers have to give up Pinot Noir to move to Syrah? In Bordeaux, the young president of the Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite, Saskia de Rothschild, to combat the consequences of climate change on the vineyards and wineries, one of the most highly valued vineyards in the world, announced that by 2030 it will give up 4 hectares of vineyards to plant trees from Fruit in the name of biodiversity.

It is not even necessary to go that far to monitor the effects of climate change on vineyard cultivation. In Italy, the climb to the ground in search of good terrain and cooler temperatures has already begun some time ago. And if old people in the past said they look where the snow has melted before, to understand which vineyards are best suited, the criteria for evaluating new plants will likely be different in the future, looking for locations with less sun exposure. “All our agriculture is the result of a battle against the climate – explains the professor Attilio Senza, Professor of Viticulture at the University of MilanPresident of the National Wine Commission, Scientific Director of the International Vinitaly Academy and one of the most authoritative scientists at the international level -. Man has always adapted, changing species, practices, and tastes. Today we face another battle, but we can rely on more sophisticated tools that go beyond mere repopulation.” Which? Thanks to predictive models, for example, we are able to predict the climate and not suffer from it, and implement highly targeted countermeasures. Then we made giant strides in the study of genetics : Today we have roots that are more tolerant of drought, but also the possibility to try resistant vines obtained from crossings or thanks to tea, the technique of co-evolution. But we are still only at the beginning and a huge research effort is still needed.”

Alois Laguerre’s dash: “Behind accusations of biodynamics, the interests of the chemical industry”

by Lara Laureate



Hand in hand with this technology revolutionA, he goes to look for authenticity on the part of the market. Consumers today want first and foremost to be emotionally involved: they search for the identity of the wine, the spirit of those who produce it and the history of the region in which the grapes are grown. Then they want to find a consistency between these feelings and the sensory sensations that the wine can convey when it reaches the glass. Be careful though. “When it comes to wine, it is always necessary to distinguish between different markets. What is true in the United States or Canada is not good for China or South Korea,” warns critic Ian D’Agata, editor-in-chief of Terroir-Sense Wine Review who has moved to Shanghai for two years. “In a mature market like London or New York, it also makes sense to talk about Schioppettino, Nascetta and Nasco from Sardinia, you can even venture to explain the difference between Favorita, Fermentino and Bigatto. But you can’t do that in Beijing or Texas, where you have to show up with cool labels like Chianti, Amarone, Brunello.Continuous work of communication and positioning is needed: humans are curious by nature, but there is no possibility.
To sell something, if you don’t know it.”

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