VCyT to be the first wine company to contribute genetic information from its vineyards to global eDNA biodiversity map
Major initiative, part of the company’s Mediterranean Forest Conservation Program, will contribute to generation of a global biodiversity map and strengthen development of conservation plans for Chile’s wine ecosystems
August 14, 2021, Santiago de Chile – During the World Conservation Congress organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Viña Concha y Toro announced that it will initiate a collaboration with this organization dedicated to monitoring biodiversity in different areas around the world, in order to map the distribution of various species and contribute to global knowledge of ecosystems through genetics and cutting-edge technology.
eBioAtlas, the initiative of the IUCN and NatureMetrics, is based on the fact that species leave traces of their DNA in different environments such as waterways, wetlands and forests. Using the innovative eDNA technique it is possible to know the species present in different ecosystems, as well as their migration habits. To access this information, Viña Concha y Toro will first take water samples from its estates and forests, which will later be sequenced and analyzed in NatureMetrics’ laboratories located in the United Kingdom. The information collected will be part of the largest repository of biodiversity of flora and fauna species, contributing not only to local biodiversity but also to a complete global map.
“The flora and fauna leave traces of DNA in every place they use or travel. Obtaining qualitative and quantitative information will allow us to advance faster in our ecology restoration efforts, since one of the great problems in this area is the time it takes for field inventories and how static is the information that can be obtained in them. Using the eDNA method we can access information in real time and online. Furthermore, thanks to this initiative that is part of our Mediterranean Forest Conservation Program, the company will be making a major contribution to the world biodiversity map, delivering information and making it available to the global community,” explains Valentina Lira, Sustainability Director from Viña Concha y Toro.
NatureMetrics has used eDNA to carry out surveys for more than 200 businesses, governments and conservation organizations in the world. Viña Concha y Toro will be the first wine company to contribute genetic information from its vineyards to the global biodiversity map. Recently, NatureMetrics analyzed 160 samples of water collected in the Peruvian Amazon with WWF Peru, which had originally aimed to only focus on manatees and pink river dolphins. However, 675 further species and their distributions were identified. “eDNA is a game changer because it
“We face a biodiversity crisis and we’ve been running blind. We know we have to act to protect threatened species and their habitats, but the lack of data makes it hard to set tangible targets and monitor progress, or to incentivize businesses and governments to take meaningful action. We end up spinning in circles and going nowhere, while the loss of nature continues to accelerate,” Dr. Kat Bruce, NatureMetrics Founder, emphasizes.
Viña Concha y Toro has 4,272 hectares of (natural) sclerophyll forest present within its estates in Chile, equivalent to half a hectare of protected natural forest for each hectare of land used for grape production. Through its Mediterranean Forest Conservation Program, the company has implemented initiatives to protect and improve these forest areas in order to protect and safeguard the natural environment. “The presence of diverse flora and fauna species in our vineyards is proof that our natural heritage is in an excellent state of conservation, and coexists perfectly with the production of high-quality wines,” says Valentina Lira.
The World Conservation Congress, held this year in France between September 3 and 11, brought together more than 1,400 organizations, members from more than 160 countries and various representatives of civil society to define priorities and to promote actions in science, practices and policies for nature conservation and sustainable development.
About Viña Concha y Toro
Viña Concha y Toro is a leading global company in the wine industry with more than 135 years of history. It is currently Latin America’s largest wine exporter, and one of the world’s top wine brands, with a presence in more than 130 countries. Its production origins in Chile, Argentina and the United States—where its wines are imported and marketed by holding Fetzer Vineyards—imbue its wines with character and identity, giving rise to a great family of unique global brands, recognized worldwide for their quality, innovation and sustainability.
The company is headquartered in Santiago de Chile, and has 12,313 hectares of vineyards planted in the main wine valleys of Chile, Argentina and the United States. It also has 13 sales offices located in its key markets around the world.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organizations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organizations and the input of more than 18,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
NatureMetrics is an innovative science-based company focused on conservation located in the United Kingdom, with experience in the provision of high-quality commercial DNA services all over the world. In particular, its eDNA services for aquatic resources have been on the market for more than five years, and provide empirical data to support decision-making in a wide range of environmental management contexts.
eBioAtlas is an ambitious partnership between NatureMetrics and IUCN to rapidly create a global atlas of life in the world’s river basins and wetlands using cutting-edge eDNA technology. It will provide a comprehensive picture of freshwater species in each location, mobilizing local stakeholders and citizen scientists to fill in critical knowledge gaps to support conservation efforts and inform global policy to reverse the loss of biodiversity.