The Second Regenerative Viticulture Conference will bring together experts in living soils, holistic management, and keyline design

29 April 2022

The Second Regenerative Viticulture Conference will take place on Monday, 9th May in Vilafranca del Penedès, bringing together experts and wine producers from three continents to discuss the pillars of regenerative agriculture, applied to viticulture, and demonstrate the benefits of this model for vineyards and the planet. The aim of the event, entitled ‘The viticulture of climate change’ and organized by the Regenerative Viticulture Association, is to raise awareness among vine growers and wine producers of the need for a paradigm shift in vineyard management and the adoption of regenerative viticulture to slow down global warming.

American farmer Joel Salatin, coowner of Polyface Farm in Virginia (USA), will be in charge of opening the conference with a talk where he will look at the issues the sector is currently facing and possible solutions based on his experience, where, thanks to creating a natural ecosystem based on the symbiosis between plants and animals, he has been able to turn deteriorated land into the most productive farm in his region in six decades.

Four experts will then explain the pillars of regenerative agriculture, where soil—and the life within it—forms the backbone. To that end, Josep Ramon Sainz de la Maza, a founding partner of GeaOrganica and expert in regenerative agriculture, will discuss how the soil behaves during the changeover process, while Dr Dania García Sánchez, professor in mycology and environmental microbiology at Rovira i Virgili University, will talk about soil microbiology, in other words, how microorganisms have a positive impact on plants’ development and nutrition.

The other two experts are Pablo Borrelli, co-founder of OVIS 21 and hub leader for Argentina of the Savory Network, who will talk about holistic management, a concept introduced by American ecologist Allan Savory at the first edition of the conference; and Manel Badia, founder of the Manel Badia agricultural consultancy and expert in regenerative agriculture, who will discuss a crucial aspect in the viticulture of climate change: the optimization of water and keyline design.

Case studies will be presented by Johan Reyneke, winemaker and owner of Reyneke Wines in South Africa, the only vineyard certified as biodynamic in that country, and Miguel Torres Maczassek, General Manager of Familia Torres and President of the Regenerative Viticulture Association, who will share experiences and good practices of some of the members of this association, which was created in 2021 and currently comprises 40 wine producer and vine grower members.

Hosted by Margarida Ripoll, editor-in-chief of the magazine Arrels, the conference will include institutional participation from Pere Regull, the Mayor of Vilafranca del Penedès, and Elisenda Guillaumes, the Director-General of Agriculture and Livestock Farming of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Around 150 attendees are expected, including vine growers, farmers, wine producers, oenologists, and sommeliers, all of whom are committed to the fight against climate change. Regenerative viticulture could become a solution for slowing down climate change since it is the only vineyard model based on the carbon cycle, maximizing the vines’ capacity for absorbing atmospheric CO2 and turning them into huge carbon sinks. This CO2 stored in the ground causes the soil to recover its natural fertility and balance, makes it more resistant to drought, keeps it from eroding, and promotes biodiversity.