Jan 19, 2021

Actions for sustainability in Argentinean Viticulture

Sustainability is gaining importance worldwide every day. The wine industry is no exception.  In Argentina, the Association of Wineries of Argentina (Bodegas de Argentina) includes a sustainability commission that addresses this issue in conjunction with other important institutions of the wine ecosystem and proposes concrete actions to wineries so that they can achieve their objectives of being better for their regions and the environment in general and that they can also demonstrate it to the world.

Thus, in 2019 this commission drafted a Certifiable Wine Sustainability Self-Assessment Protocol that was developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Viticulture (INV), the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Cuyo. The commission is working on its international recognition and it has  already been recognized by the Finnish monopoly Alko. This protocol addresses all aspects related to environmental, social and economic sustainability of viticulture. Among these aspects, we can mention: viticulture, soil management, irrigation management, phytosanitary management of vineyards, wine quality, management and conservation of the agroecosystem, efficient use of energy, conservation and quality of water in the winery, management of materials, management of solid waste, purchases with environmental preference, human resources, neighbors and community, and air quality.

Actions for sustainability in Argentinean Viticulture

To date, 56 certificates have been issued, comprising 81 units (farms and wineries) in Mendoza, San Juan, Salta and Río Negro. For wineries that are not yet in conditions to certify, the commission has prepared a Guide for sustainable production in the wine sector. It was written by professionals from the Faculty of Agrarian Sciences of the National University of Cuyo, National Institute of Viticulture (INV), National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI), and the Association of Wineries of Argentina (Bodegas de Argentina). It has been published on the United Nations website “The one planet network” (https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/resource/guia-para-la-produccion-vitivinicola-sustentable).

This guide provides information about sustainable practices to orientate the actions of the winery. Currently, INTI and Bodegas de Argentina are designing a program to train wineries from different Argentine wine regions in the implementation of the Sustainable Wine Production Guide to strengthen their export capacity. This training would be carried out through a self-manageable e-learning course.

In addition, this commission is working on a Methodological Guide for the calculation of the Environmental Footprint in accordance with the European Union regulations applied to the specific reality of production in Argentina. For this initiative, it collaborates with the National Foreign Ministry and the World Wine Trade Group. (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/smgp/documents/PEFCR%20_wine.pdf).

Furthermore, the Association of Wineries of Argentina (Bodegas de Argentina) signed an agreement with Carbon Group (https://carbongroup.com.ar/)  for the calculation of carbon and water footprints, projects for carbon sequestration by soils, design and implementation of an emissions compensation plan, design and implementation of projects, presentation for international audit and certification in order to issue carbon credits, search for investors and presentation of certifiable projects.

As a framework for all these actions, the Association of Wineries of Argentina (Bodegas de Argentina) set up a permanent forum in which different aspects of viticultural sustainability are discussed. It includes the participation of researchers, specialists and national and international wineries. The events are free of charge and open to the public.Events are announced on different social media.

Cover Photo: courtesy of Bodegas de Argentina / www.bodegasdeargentina.org (Source: Luis Romito, Sustainablility Commission. luis.romito@gmail.com)