The Porto Protocol Foundation – a global wine community focused on climate action – held Climate Talk focused on the importance of ecosystem management in vineyards on October 19th. The speakers, including Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira (Managing Partner and CEO at NBI, a BONEX partner), Tom Croghan (Co-Owner and Winemaker at The Vineyards at Dodon) and Emmannuel Bourguignon (consultant in soil microbiology, ecology and agronomy at LAMS), discussed the need for vineyards to enhance and preserve the ecosystem services that nature provides, such as carbon storage and natural control of undesirable organisms. They highlighted the importance of biodiversity and the need for collective action to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.
The speakers shared their experiences and practices in managing ecosystems in vineyards, emphasizing the importance of understanding the soil, promoting biodiversity, and reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides. They also discussed the upcoming European regulations on ecosystem restoration and the potential benefits of these regulations for vineyards.
Nuno, from NBI, emphasized the importance of holistic thinking and proper implementation of practices to enhance biodiversity in vineyards, promote natural pest control, and restore ecological services. According to Nuno, vineyards must be addressed as ecosystems, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living aspects, including water resources.
This talk also covered the techniques used to create living ecosystems, including native and naturalized grasses and forbs, agro-forests, tree plantations and integration of livestock. These practices indirectly impact water management by improving soil health, reducing volatilization, and contributing to a balanced ecosystem. Energy consumption can also be addressed through reduced need for synthetic inputs and the potential for carbon storage, contributing to climate change mitigation. Potential benefits of adopting sustainable vineyard practices, such as pruning, tree planting, and hedge maintenance were considered vital for supporting fungal populations and enhance water-holding capacity, while attracting beneficial insects.
Speakers also discussed the challenges of managing vineyards as ecosystems due to its unnatural balance caused by human intervention. In this matter, water management is crucial as it impacts not only the vineyard but neighboring properties and communities.
The speakers suggested that regulations play a crucial role in protecting fragile ecosystems and should be tailored to suit the specific needs of vineyard operations. Finally, this talk also highlighed the importance of measuring and monitoring organic matter and other indicators to determine the success of vineyard restoration efforts.
This talk also encouraged community engagement and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing to overcome challenges and enhance sustainable practices. A call to action was also made for vineyards to join the ‘Living Vineyards’ project. This new endeavor aims to preserve and enhance ecosystem services such as carbon storage, natural pest control, self-regulation, and biodiversity, crucial for the wine industry. The initiative aims to have at least 25 vineyards with ecosystem restoration measures in place by 2025, with the goal of transforming every vineyard into a living ecosystem. The project is seeking 20 pilot companies to come on board and submit their interest by December 1st.
Watch again the webinar.