NEW YORK, NY, February 17, 2022 – Many wine-producing countries are shifting their focus towards sustainability efforts, and Argentina is no exception. Now with over 75 certified organic wineries, the nation remains a leader in the pioneering of sustainable agricultural practices in South America – though organics is just the beginning. “Today, consumers around the world do want to live more sustainably. Many expect businesses to play a positive role in society and feel that when it comes to driving positive change, brands bear as much responsibility as governments. In one survey 66% of all respondents, and 75% of millennial respondents, said they consider sustainability when making a purchase” (the World Economic Forum, May 2021). Furthermore, Wines of Argentina, as a non-profit, has a special role in the “Sustainable Wine Roundtable”, an independent global coalition with the goal of setting standards in the industry, by raising awareness and promoting sustainability in the wine industry. Read on to learn more about the specific sustainability efforts being made by Wines of Argentina, as well as to discover the organization’s brand-new augmented reality web app, aimed at educating consumers on regional diversity, sustainability in the vineyard, and more, here.
Sustainability Across Multiple Sectors
For Argentine vineyards, sustainability goes far beyond just responsible farming. Numerous wineries are taking action to provide their employees with housing and care – one of the largest being Bodega Norton. At Finca La Colonia, the estate’s largest vineyards, 45 families are given housing, health care, and an education. Children of said employees are provided with childcare and are enrolled in a local kindergarten, which opened just shy of a decade ago. For Bodega Trivento, efforts towards social sustainability mean allowing employees to work semi-remotely, to use the additional time to complete studies. The initiative first began in 2008; since then, numerous three-year cycles have been completed, and a scholarship program / post-graduate courses have been implemented.
In 2018 Bodegas de Argentina has launched a ‘Protocol of Sustainability of Wineries of Argentina’.* The Protocol “aims at strengthening long term environmental, social and economic sustainability and competitiveness of the Argentine wine industry. The scope of the Program is the entire wine industry, throughout the country, including the wine-producing sector, wineries, must, raisin and fresh grape producers, trading companies, wine-related associations, academic entities, control entities, and government. It applies hence to all wine companies, from small family vineyards and wineries to multinational corporations, to define a clear sustainability strategy.” The Program is centered around the enhancement of sustainability across the board in the areas of Viticulture, Soil management, Vineyard water management, Pest management, Wine quality, Ecosystem management, Energy efficiency, Winery Water Conservation, and Quality, Material Handling, Solid Waste Management, Sustainable preferred purchasing, Human Resources, Neighbors and Community, and Air quality.
Creation of Vinodinámicos
As more Argentinian wineries continue to move towards organic practices, regulated organizations are also on the rise. Such is the case of Vinodinámicos, a new organization that emphasizes the notion of balance within ecosystems. “We’re a dynamic group who works in harmony with our surroundings,” says its group coordinator Mauricio Castro. There are currently ten founding wineries that make up the organization, including Grupo Avinea, Ernesto Catena Vineyards, Domaine Bousquet, and Bodega Piedra
*Bodegas de Argentina: Bodegas de Argentina (BAAC) is a business chamber which includes 250 wineries. It was created in 2001 as a result of the merger of Centro de Bodegueros de Mendoza (1935, Mendoza) and the Asociación Vitivinícola Argentina (1904, Buenos Aires).
Negra. The core philosophies and values of the organization include but are not limited to integrity, generosity, commitment, respect, and innovation.
Continued Shift Towards Organic Farming
As of last year, over 75 wineries were listed as being certified organic, which represents nearly double the number of certified estates just seven years prior. The shift has not only been attributed to consumer interest but also a desire for long-lasting sustainability for generations to come, equally from the eyes of producers. Of these 75+ wineries, over 161 vineyards are classified as certified organic, which accounts for over 6,000 hectares of land. While Malbec still dominates most of these plantings, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Torrontés are equally on the rise.
At Bodegas Krontiras, 100% of production is organic and biodynamic, with certifications both in vineyards and in the winery. However, sustainability goes far beyond important farming choices. “On the farm, we [also] care about increasing soil fertility and biodiversity,” says Maricruz Antolín, agricultural engineer and geologist at the estate, noting that Krontiras only fertilizes with composts made from their animals. Additionally, Antolín notes that the property maintains a robust vegetable farm, which helps feed the estate’s animals and provides shelter for insects in the vineyards. “We believe that the best way to promote this type of agriculture is through knowledge. That is why we finance and support open access studies; we encourage our people to produce their food, and we have an organic garden with products available for families to produce sweets and preserves for the whole year,” she says.
Responding to the Water Crisis
Argentina’s wine regions, particularly Mendoza, are no strangers to the effects of climate change, one of the most impactful being the reduced availability of water. “We are constantly taking measurements and looking for ways to optimize further. [This] allows us to reduce our consumption month by month through a range of minor adjustments such as the use of irrigation hoses on automatic timers,’ says Rodrigo Serrado Alou, oenologist at Domaine Bousquet. Since 2010, water consumption in the winemaking process has been reduced from 10 liters of water per liter of wine to two liters per liter of wine – a drastic difference of 80%.
Additionally, Anne Bousquet, co-owner and CEO of Domaine Bousquet notes that water is the main resource that Argentina (and the world) must protect. “As climate changes and snowfall amounts in the Andes mountains decrease gradually every year, water has become a limited resource, and its preservation is a pressing issue that we are tackling,” she says, noting that solutions have been found through sustainable drip irrigation technologies, as well as the construction of high-performance water treatment plants that reuse water from the winemaking process.
While making progress for the future, attempting to undo the damage that’s already been done is also at the forefront of Argentine winemakers’ minds. “Today, a commitment to sustainability means not just reducing the impact of the wine business on the environment but also including techniques of regenerative agriculture that can heal the damage that has already been caused,” mentions Facundo Bonamaizón, Agricultural Engineer at Chakana Wines. These commitments include looking towards regenerative agriculture, moving towards organic farming, and implementing biodynamic principles.
Not only do sustainable wines meet market demand, but they also hold the key to the future of Argentina’s (and the world’s) ability to continue to produce wine in an ecologically friendly way. As the effects of climate change rage on, Argentina remains committed to reducing their emission of greenhouse gas, moving towards organic farming, and investing in the education, lives, and overall well being of the people behind their viticultural sector.
To celebrate the country’s sustainability efforts and to focus on the regional differences amongst its many diverse growing sites, Wines of Argentina has recently launched a augmented reality web app. Click here to step into the WofA Wine Bar and discover more about Wines of Argentina.
To learn more about the sustainable and inclusive initiatives being promoted through Wines of Argentina, particularly focused on encouraging an egalitarian balance of men and women in the wine sector, click here.
ABOUT WINES OF ARGENTINA
Wines of Argentina is the entity responsible for the VINOARGENTINO brand in the world. Since 1993, the organization has been promoting the image of regional wines abroad, in addition to helping guide the export strategy of Argentina, studying and analyzing the changes that occur in consumer markets. Its objective is to collaborate in the consolidation of Argentina among the main wine exporting countries of the world and contribute to the global success of the wine industry, by raising the positive perception in the trade of opinion leaders and consumers.