Viña Concha y Toro’s Center for Research and Innovation (CRI) held the virtual meeting “Sustainability and Climate Change” on November 11 to share and discuss climate change and innovative sustainable vineyard management practices in Chile and Spain for a more resilient viticulture.
Álvaro González, Director of the CRI, introduced the presentations, highlighting the Center’s role in disseminating knowledge to the academic community and the wine industry: “Our new R&D&I Strategic Plan includes a rich agenda of outreach through different channels and enriching content for industry and academia. I am pleased with this open activity to share part of our R&D work, as resilience to climate change and water scarcity are two imperative applied research topics for today’s wine industry”.
Andrés Zurita MSc. PhD, Senior Researcher INIA INTIHUASI, began his presentation “Use of rootstocks as a viticultural adaptation strategy to the climate crisis” explaining the different stressors of the vine in its natural environment and proposing different solutions to reduce water consumption in vineyards. In this context, Zurita concluded that the use of rootstocks helps to improve drought tolerance and nutrient acquisition, modifying the architecture of the roots, achieving a more adapted plant.
Sebastián Vargas MSc. PhD(c), CRI Viticulture and Enology R&D&I Leader, presented different state-of-the-art instruments and techniques to determine the water status of the vineyard, with their respective advantages and disadvantages. The researcher indicated that plants with the same level of soil moisture respond differently depending on the environment in which they are located, and that the more demanding the environment, the more stressed the plant becomes. “Likewise, the water stress of a vineyard cannot be understood in absolute values since it depends on the moment of measurement and the management of the plant. On the other hand, each variety presents a different response and these must be managed differently,” concluded Sebastián Vargas.
Gonzaga Santesteban PhD, Director of Agronomy, Biotechnology and Food at the U. Pública de Navarra, was the next presenter, who shared his experience with the use of plant covers as a soil management strategy, with positive results in increasing biodiversity and in the work in the vineyard after the rains, avoiding soil compaction: “It is a practice that implies a cultural change in viticulture and that has proven to be beneficial, but it is not the solution for all vineyards, the technical decision must be made considering the reality of each one”.
Rosa Roa PhD, Molecular Biology Researcher at the CRI, presented the results of the various composting trials being conducted, highlighting the obtaining of differentiated material depending on the waste or substrates used. Regarding the trials on the application of compost to the vineyard, Rosa Roa presented as lessons learned that in the case of potted plants, the quality of the compost modifies soil characteristics: “In plants, on the other hand, and after the first year of treatment, there is no alteration in the balance between plant and fruit quality; but we have seen a higher concentration of nutrients in the soil chemistry.
At the end of all the presentations, there was a round of questions for the speakers, including those sent by the attendees.