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La Rioja Alta takes new step in green commitment

Published:  27 March, 2018

La Rioja Alta has taken the latest step in its sustainable commitment by allocating 16 hectares of its vineyards to 100% organic viticulture.

After decades of integrated management, the winery has in an initial phase chosen two strategic plots - a six hectare plot in ‘La Pedriza’ in Tudelilla, Rioja Baja, planted with Garnacha and a 10 hectare plot in a Tinta del País vineyard belonging to the Áster winery in Ribera del Duero in Anguix, Burgos.

Refering to the move as a “milestone” in la Rioja Alta’s environmental commitment, director of Viticulture, Roberto Frías, said there would be no use of synthesis plant health products, herbicides, acaricides, fungicides or insecticides in the selected vineyards.

“We will use exclusively copper and sulphur to control downy mildew and powdery mildew, respectively and extracts of fungi, algae and vegetables for other types of diseases and, if we need to apply any fertilizer, it will be organic,” he said.

The purpose of the initiative was to learn and study how its vineyards, grapes and wines were affected by refraining from the use of conventional plant health products, he added.

“The head of the agricultural section is optimistic about prospective results and he is convinced that the total elimination of chemicals will be beneficial for everyone and, in addition, will have a positive effect on the quality of our wines.”

The decision represents the latest in the sustainable management developed for decades by the winery group, including the use of integrated viticulture in its close to 650 hectare of estate-owned vineyards in Rioja, Rioja Alavesa, Rías Baixas and Ribera del Duero.

Previous green initiatives carried out by La Rioja Alta include the use of biotechnological alternatives for pest control, leaving a ground cover on more than 30% of the total surface of vineyards.

It is currently installing a solar farm to provide a major part of the energy used by the firm’s winery in Labastida, Alava.