A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
interesting article from horsepress.es was written by Raquel Benjumeda
González Byass is working towards sustainable
viticulture and their weapons of choice are biological: roses, woodland daisies,
lavender, rosemary, oleander, jacarandas and pheromone diffusers. The latter
attract male moths into traps so they can't breed, obviating the need for insecticide, and the others protect the vineyard from mosquitos,
spiders and fungi. This is what has been happening at the firm’s Viña La Canariera
in the pago Carrascal.
Roses are planted at the ends of the rows of
vines for the early detection of diseases which can be lethal to the vines such
as oidium, a virulent fungus whose spores blow in the wind. It is attracted to
the humidity of the rose petals and in a few days it can cover the leaves in an
ash-like powder, killing them off. Once alerted, the vineyard staff can spray
the roses and the vines with sulphur, a natural antiseptic.
The woodland daisies which share soil with the
vines begin to feed the mosquitos at the most sensitive stages of the vineyard
cycle, the flowering and fruiting. There are referred to as weeds but those
which grow spontaneously do not affect the vine’s yield. Lots of flowering oleanders
will take over the provision of nectar for the mosquitos from the nearby sunflowers
when they wilt offering an alternative to vine sap.
This combination of species protects the vines
while avoiding the use of contaminating chemicals and is the method used in so
called “integrated production” which has been successfully used for many years
with positive results for the company and the environment. Integrated
production is an intermediate step between traditional and organic viticulture
according to the firm’s agronomist Manuel Delgado.
All the firm’s 414 hectares of vineyards are now
managed this way, including the ones near Arcos where they make red wine at Finca Moncloa. There
a project is under way to plant trees and shrubs to attract useful wildlife. At
the 12 hectare La Canariera vineyard the organic conversion has begun, with no
chemical products used for over two years. Next year the official green seal
will be issued making it one of few organic vineyards in the area.
Along with the careful plantings in the
vineyard, the winemakers will install advanced applications which will provide climatic
and agricultural data throughout the seasons in real time so they can predict
the conditions which might lead to the presence of fungi and insects and be
able to act quickly. The idea is to use chemicals only if absolutely necessary.
There is now more colour in the vineyard than
in the days when chemicals were used. Manuel Delgado says “we believe that as
well as protecting the vines, this new bio diversity will favour an increase in
other species which will fill the vineyard with life and colour. Already there
are lots of quail and rabbits which live among the native shrubs which are
being planted between the rows of vines. It all adds up to a healthier vineyard
and a better product”.
This environmental conscience which
distinguished Manuel María González, the firm’s founder in 1835, has been
passed down the generations of both family and employees. The principle of
responsible use of natural resources has resulted in the firm’s ten point
sustainability plan “5+5 Caring for the Planet” created by the first five
generations and dedicated to the next five.
These are the firm's "Ten
1 Reduce atmospheric emissions by reducing the
use of fuel and increasing the use of electric vehicles in the bodegas and the
planting of 10,000 native trees in the vineyards over the next 10 years.
2 Reduce the use of lights by installing high
efficiency motion sensor bulbs, conduct audits of energy use periodically and harvest
the grapes at night.
3 Increase the use of clean energy. Change from
biomass boilers to solar panels for heating water in the bodegas.
4 Save water by using rainwater collection
ponds, use controlled deficit irrigation and clean used water using specific
algae in the firm’s own water purifying plants.
5 Reduce waste from bodega activity by
recovering by-products from winemaking and distillation, production of organic
fertiliser from cattle manure and 100% re-cycling of paper, cardboard, glass
and plastic generated in the bodegas.
6 Change to eco-design, reducing the weight of
glass in bottles, using re-cycled containers and packaging, buying cardboard
and wood from certified forests, supporting and educating suppliers to achieve
7 Test sustainable agricultural practices in
the vineyards with integrated ecological production, substitute chemical
treatments for biological ones wherever possible.
8 Conserve the biodiversity of the environment,
protect fauna in danger of extinction, and conserve gardens and native species.
9 Undertake to offer people a range of products
which are sustainable and respectful of the environment.