While for many, “sustainability” is just a catchword, the Alto Adige wine industry is staking its future on it: with five fields of action and a series of concrete steps that are to be taken in each one of these fields by 2030.
In order to maintain the land and industry for future generations, the Consortium of Alto Adige Wines along with the Fruit and Winegrowing Consulting Center, the Laimburg Agricultural Research Center, the EURAC, the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, and sustainability expert Alfred Strigl have drawn up an agenda that forms the roadmap for the future of Alto Adige winegrowing. “After the most difficult year in the recent history of our wine industry due to Covid-19 and the lockdown, having such a roadmap is more important than ever,” explained Maximilian Niedermayr, president of the Consortium of Alto Adige Wines.
“The starting point of our agenda,” Niedermayr continued, “are the five pillars upon which our wine industry is based: soil, vines, wine, territory, and people.” Two essential resources for winegrowing are, for instance, fertile soils and clean water. If we wish to work in a sustainable way, then we have
to manage these two resources in a prudent manner. For this field of action, the Agenda calls for the changeover to purely organic fertilizing and the replacement of single-use plastics with biodegradable materials, but also the measuring, documenting, and optimizing of the consumption of water resources.
Furthermore, in the vineyards this concerns newly regulated plant protection. “In this area, the measures are far reaching,” Niedermayr added. For instance, starting in 2023, synthetic herbicides are to be avoided. Particular attention is to be paid to biodiversity in the vineyards, which in the future is to be supported by its own manual for winegrowers as well as by the awarding of a prize for the most ecological vineyard.
In addition, the 2030 Agenda moves CO2 emissions from the wine industry into the focus. “We will carry out a complete and accurate measurement of CO2 emissions in order to identify effective measures with which we can reduce our footprint in regards to the greenhouse effect,” the president of the Consortium of Alto Adige Wines explained. A climate change program will also be developed and a strategy drawn up as to how Alto Adige winegrowing can best prepare itself for the consequences of climate change.
The “Territory” field of action comprises the protection and maintenance of the rural landscape that has been created over the centuries by winegrowing in Alto Adige, as well as the entire value added chain associated with it. “Building up and supporting such a chain is not just an ecological imperative, it is an inevitable choice for the sustainability of the local economic fabric.”
In order for the 2030 Alto Adige Wine Agenda to not just remain a document, it is necessary to involve all those associated with winegrowing, convincing them of the validity of the objectives and measures that have been proposed. “We do not want to impose the Agenda from above. Rather, it is to grow from below and be implemented through conviction.” And yet another conviction became clear to Niedermayr: “The 2030 Alto Adige Wine Agenda is not engraved in stone. It will have to adjust to changes in conditions at the economic, ecological, and legislative levels.”
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