Textura Wines Lda, a family-based wine project, located in Dão Region – Serra da Estrela, started its business in 2018 covered by sustainable developments strategies due to the background experiences of the owners: Patricia is a university professor of socio-environmental management and Marcelo is a former investments and risk manager. They choose this location to establish a wine production that respects their values and promotes local development.
Textura Wines currently explores 28 ha of vineyards in Dão, in two sub-regions, Serra da Estrela (Gouveia) and Castendo (Penalva do Castelo).
The company sells four different brands of wine in Portuguese and export markets.
Applying circular principles to the wine business at Textura Wines: a shared effort for resource recovery
The aim of producing distinctive wines that reflect the place of the vineyards is the main pillar of this project, which also counts on organic viticulture. While maintaining and recovering existing resources as well as promoting minimal intervention, this project seeks to carry out all wine production activities according to the premises of long-term sustainable development and to principles of circular economy (regeneration and restoration by optimization of the usage of resources). Higher altitude vines in a more humid region as a shelter from global warming played a key role in site selection and its suitability for a sustainable project.
The company’s philosophy is based on the pillars of sustainability, regional development and cultural appreciation, with emphasis on the principles of circular economy aimed at regeneration and restoration through the optimization of the usage of resources, identifying this area as fundamental to its objectives and, intending to implement the production of DOP Dão wines, from the Serra da Estrela sub-region.
Among the values that guide its activities, the company Textura Wines works to promote and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda, with emphasis on SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, namely for the goals 12.2 Sustainable Management and Use of Natural Resources; 12.4 Responsible management of chemicals and waste; 12.5 Substantially reduce waste generation; 12.8 Promote of universal understanding of sustainable lifestyles and 12.b Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable tourism; SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, namely for targets 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors ; 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises ; 8.9 By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products; and for SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, namely targets 11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage and 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning. The essence of these values and principles are part of the strategic and operational actions for the development and evolution of our business, in which social, environmental and cultural valorization are permanent elements in all activities, being perceived and highlighted by the market as a differentiating factor of our products and of our brand.
Our fundamental principles are based on respect for local nature with its biodiversity (soil, flora and fauna, people and community); the preservation of resources (natural and cultural) and regional development. Even though it is a young project, the company is highly oriented to developing business in a completely sustainable way concerning all the basic elements (social, environmental and economic pillars), using local expertise, innovation of business models by applying circular economy premises and focus on the strengthening of the relationships that share same values.
The company owns 30 ha of agricultural area, with 28 ha allocated to viticulture and, since 2020, in conversion to organic certification.
Operating to optimize the usage of resources is imperative for any business. Nature is a perfect model based on cycles, where there is no waste, no loss and the species work through local symbioses. Agriculture and the agri-food chains are responsible for many environmental impacts including those associated with land occupation, the generation of greenhouse gas emissions, the different negative impacts derived from food losses and food waste. As many scientific studies present, optimizing and regenerating food production resources can thus represent a direct improvement in terms of climate change, reduction of water stress and pollution, and the regeneration of the land, which can promote an increase in biodiversity, in addition, substantially contributing to other SDGs, as SDG 2; 12; 15, and 16 (Berardi et al, 2021).
Looking at our processes, the pruning generates a meaningful amount of organic waste. By local legislation, it is allowed to dispose of such waste by burning it – a common practice in local agriculture, or sending it to a landfill. Such practice is unacceptable according to our philosophy. Disposing of waste in landfills also corresponds to a direct loss of resources, which represents a loss of value. Furthermore, in organic viticulture, we add natural composts to the soil to increase its nutrients, which we have bought in the market in high quantities – an expensive production cost.
We studied and analyzed different options for compost, and we have discovered in our neighborhood other farmers who produce a high amount of waste (from poultry and rabbit production), they must pay to dispose of them in an environmentally correct manner. We decided to join efforts to start the production of natural compost from our green waste (pruning and garden waste) with waste derived from these productions of the neighboring farms. We offer our workforce and our logistics (which daily collect the waste from the partners, transport it to our land, combine it with the green waste, and process the compost).
The resulting compound is a product highly rich in natural nutrients, of excellent quality for the vineyards, and which is also shared with other small local growers.
The implementation of this process made it possible to eliminate a very representative amount of waste, not only from our production but also from other producers of different activities; it prevented more externalities from being generated by the burning of waste that potentiates greenhouse gas emissions; it diverted the need for use of the landfills; made it possible to transform wastes into resources by regenerating them and transforming them into natural nutrients; it significantly reduced the costs associated with production (from different chains); it has promoted the partnership between local producers.
With some creativity and a lot of determination, the search for more appropriate solutions and less harmful to the environment, it was possible to identify partners with similar needs to eliminate high amounts of waste with less generation of negative externalities. The partnership established allowed the transformation of a common problem into a greater benefit, not only for the producers involved, who diminished their production costs and reduce their environmental impacts but also for the environment and the local community: benefits from the donation of high-quality natural compounds; by not generating of negative impacts to the short and the long term. This is truly a shared value creation.
The implementation of circular economy principles is possible at all stages of production processes. The constant review of models and operations is present in all the company’s strategies. Since its initial phase of operations, Textura Wines has rethought winemaking activities, in the search for new ways of operating, by adopting practices that are still not widespread in the market. We did not build the physical winery structure because we wanted to recover century-old textile factory buildings that were in ruins, thus promoting the reuse of existing materials and the cultural recovery of the region; we installed an effluent treatment station to promote water reuse; we use materials both in the construction stage and in daily operational processes that are of biobased sourced, recycled and recyclable; we install panels for our energy generation; we promote the maximum reuse of materials (eg: we reuse boxes and packaging from other suppliers to deliver our products); we do not use wooden packaging, and in cardboard packaging, the usage of pigments is as little as possible; the bottles are low-density glass and we continue to seek lighter bottles to avoid both the greater use of materials per unit produced and the reduction of carbon emissions through lighter transportation. We will continue to seek alternatives to reduce the usage of natural resources. In the near future we believe the challenge of reducing water consumption will be a key objective for the wine industry and we will pursue new equipment and materials to achieve this goal ourselves.
All our practices and our philosophy could and should be replicated, not only by the wine sector but also as an inspiration for other companies in other chains. It is imperative to rethink activities, to rescue lessons learned from nature, and it is absolutely necessary to have a movement to promote greater reuse of resources to be able to create and recreate circularity of processes, and only then, we work towards sustainable development in the long term.
Berardi, P. C., Betiol, L. S., & Dias, J. M. (2021). From the Vine to the Bottle: How Circular is the Wine Sector? A Glance Over Waste. In Challenges and Opportunities of Circular Economy in Agri-Food Sector (pp. 151-175). Springer, Singapore.