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Why are wine manufacturers in Spain shifting their vineyards uphill?

Last updated on December 11, 2019

Euronews correspondent Jaime Velazquez is to a single vineyard near Barcelona to figure out why.

The wine sector is among the most crucial industries of Spain’s agro-economy. Amid a climate crisis, vineyards across Spain are searching for ways to accommodate their vines to high temperatures and droughts.

Mireia Torres is the fifth generation of a family of winemakers, who’ve been in the company for at least 150 decades, in the northeast area of Penedes, an hour out Barcelona.

“When my dad saw Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, he’s a jolt. And with our very own statistics, [showing] that we’d more and more times over 30 degrees in the summertime, he realized that we had an issue,” she states.

A perfect storm of sun, heatwaves, and droughts are casting a shadow over the future of over 4,000 wineries around Spain — within a market worth $7 billion annually.

In search of warmer temperatures, the Torres family has increased the hills. The Bodegas Torres winery owns a bit of property 1,000 meters above sea level. When they purchased this piece of property, the family never anticipated they’d wind up planting vines on it, but the colder nights of the Catalan Pyrenees allow grapes to ripen into the ideal degree of sweetness and skin color.

As temperatures fall by one level every 100 meters heading up, Xavi Ermella, the director of the Torres’ vineyard, considers vines will simply travel higher as temperatures continue to grow.

“From the plains, in the lower zones, vineyards have problems like heatwaves. Consequently, wines get rid of freshness and odor. They aren’t balanced. It’s an issue that could only be solved this way, moving to high zones”

Back from the valley, most Spanish manufacturers are regaining traditional grapes which were abandoned decades ago, expecting to locate vines better adapted into the coming extreme weather conditions.