HEALTHY SOILS UNDER A REGENERATIVE APPROACH
Soils are filled with life. In fact, 80% of life on earth is in the soil Its organic matter forms the basis of soil health and fertility, and therefore food production. Furthermore, soils are a natural carbon sink.
So ultimately, changes in land use and soil can either accelerate or slow down climate change, promote or degrade its biodiversity. The answer might lie in preserving and restoring key ecosystems and letting nature capture carbon from the atmosphere.
And though Viticulture is a small part of the agricultural chain, soil is key to the establishment of a vineyard and wine brands speak directly to its consumer.
Regenerative Agriculture is the word of the moment as the solution to soil management and climate change. By definition, it is “a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. It aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation.”
In this Climate Talk we will explore the role of soils in fighting climate change for vines and wines across the world, and the importance of enhancing its health trough regenerative practices.
We will try to understand what these exact practices are, what measured results have they shown? How different are they from other types of viticulture such as biodynamic. What are its pros and cons? As usual, we count with producers from different parts of the world that are already leading the way to share what they are doing and what is the outcome.
3rd DECEMBER 2020
5pm Lisbon | 6pm Paris | 10am California
On Porto Protocol's youtube channel:
1- What are some good sources of information on the choice of cover crop seed mixes specifically designed to address soil fertility needs based on soil and petiole analysis?
2- There has been a lot of talk about the efficacy and cost benefit ratio in the use of bio-char – what practical observations does the panel have?
3- Perspective on use, effectiveness and / or potential downsides to soil health of the use of organically approved herbicides like Avenger and Weed-Zap.
4- Practical tips on encouraging earthworm health and proliferation in my vineyard soils?
5- What measurements other than total organic material are available and useful in assessing soil health?
6- Hints on avoiding soil compaction ( other than not using vineyard equipment entirely )?
Cristina Calheiros . Portugal
Researcher at CIIMAR-Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research
Cristina Calheiros is Environmental Engineer, holds a PhD in Biotechnology and the Permaculture Design Course diploma. She is currently researcher at CIIMAR-Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research of the University of Porto, being collaborated previously with Centre of Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry, Slater Limited-Environmental Biotechnology,UK and Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine. She is invited Professor at University of Saint Joseph–Macau SAR/China and Faculty of Sciences-UP. Integrates the scientific editorial board of Circular Economy and Sustainability journal (Springer) and is Guest Editor in the Special issue on “Urban food production: challenges and opportunities towards sustainable cities” from Sustainable Cities and Society Journal (Elsevier).
Has twenty years of experience providing information, data and guidelines on long term use, establishment and functioning of biological wastewater treatment systems (e.g winery, tannery, domestic wastewaters), such with constructed and floating wetlands. She has participated in projects related to sustainable agro-tourism, upgrading wastes from food production, wastewater management, phytoremediation and treatment solutions, green roofs, climate change adaptation and mitigation through nature-based solutions in cities and education for sustainability. Integrates the international network of COST Action-Implementing nature-based solutions for creating a resourceful circular city, and previously the COST Action-Phytotechnologies to promote sustainable land use and improve food safety. Has been finalist in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award Agricultural Credit (5thEd), first prize winner team of BES Innovation Awards (5th edition) in Biotechnology and Agroindustry sector and finalist team of the COHITEC programme (GreenCrops-Soil remediation through biomass production). Further information available at https://www.cienciavitae.pt/portal/en/5D10-BCF9-05F6
Mimi Casteel . USA
Owner and Winemaker at Hopewell
Mimi grew up on her family’s vineyard, Bethel Heights. Growing up working in the vineyard and winery, Mimi gained such an appreciation for the industry that she promptly left home after high school. Armed with a BA in History and Classics from Tulane University, Mimi spent the next year working in various National Forests across the west. Her adventures fueled her passion for studying botany, forestry, and ecology. Mimi earned her MS from Oregon State University in Forest Science, and spent the next several years working as a botanist and ecologist for the Forest Service, living in the backcountry. Her work in the forests led her to realize that the greatest threats to the future of the planet and all species had to be addressed at its root – in the agricultural and working land base. Mimi returned to Bethel Heights in 2005, where she implemented new farming systems and began a journey of experimentation and discovery. In 2016 Mimi left Bethel Heights to grow and make wine at her home vineyard and living laboratory, Hope Well. Hope Well is the living model for a habitat-based regenerative model for agriculture. Mimi’s experiments are all with the goal of producing the most nutrient-dense, healthy food and wine, while recovering the natural systems of nutrient cycling, improving biodiversity and species retention, and maximizing the function and output of a diverse ecosystem.
Álvaro Martinho . Portugal
Head of viticulture at Real Companhia Velha
Álvaro Martinho Dias Lopes was born in the Douro region, in a family of winegrowers.
The taste for plants, vines and the rural world, lead him to choose education related to agriculture. His professional life is closely linked to Real Companhia Velha at Quinta das Carvalhas, where, as he says, he specialized in viticulture. This property has a valuable ampelographic heritage, due to many indigenous grape varieties which can be found amongst its 45ha of old vineyards. Here he deepened his knowledge and learned about the behavior of many of these varieties.
As of 2002, he begins to introduce sustainable viticulture, introducing techniques that promote biodiversity where the rational use of soils, the use of indigenous plants / varieties and the type of planted vineyards assume an important and fundamental role. In addition, during this period he starts to redefine the workforce since it is the highest cost of viticulture. Abandoning the painful work, he starts simplifying tasks by getting the female workers to assume a fundamental role in the entire production process. Today more than 70% of the workforce is made up of women with very encouraging results (there is no gender pay gap).
He has his own personal wine project starts his personal wine project, where he has two brands: Maquia red (a partnership with Dirk Niepoort) and Mafarrico white, red and Mafarrico “A Minha Vinha” (in cooperation with Oenologist Jorge Moreira).
Teresa Martinez . Spain
Head of viticulture at Gramona
Teresa Martinez was born in La Rioja, Spain. Following her passion for viticulture and after finishing her degree in Agriculture Engineering and a Master in Agriculture at Navarra University (UPNA), Teresa moved to the Penedés region in Catalunya, Spain, where she joined Gramona winery as responsable of viticulture.
After several years of constant learning she has carried out all sorts of different training practices to excel her expertise on the field of Biodynamic agriculture. Studying in countries such as Spain, Switzerland, France and Italy.
Nowadays works jointly with Jaume Gramona taking full responsibility of viticulture, biodynamic practices and livestock farming with the only objective of integrating them in order to becoming a self sustaining living organism.
In 2019 took a new challenge of exploring further the limits of viticulture. Utilising her knowledge and experience with Biodynamics, Teresa took responsibility of a new project held at the Catalan Pirineos region at 1.200 metres above sea level where she practices Biodynamic agriculture too.