The true cost of the vineyard landscape enhancement. First results in the Venezia biodistrict
Context and purpose of the study
The research is part of the “Ecovinegoals” project, financed by Interreg Adrion funds. It aims to encourage the adoption and dissemination of agroecological practices in intensive wine-growing areas. The study focuses on cost analysis of the wine-growing landscape enhancement in an organic winery in order to provide a useful tool for winemakers to direct their investments in green infrastructures. One of the Italian pilot areas of the Ecovinegoals project is the Venezia Biodistrict, characterized by viticulture in a flat reclamation area of 105,800 hectares.
Material and methods
The study area is the organic winery “La Planitia” which comprises 106 hectares of vines, including 18 hectares of ancient Tocai Friulano vineyards (Lison Classico DOCG appellation), 45 hectares of crop and 12 hectares of woodland, including 5.6 hectares of “Bosco di Lison”, an old-growth lowland forest. The woodland is a recognized biodiversity site in the middle of vineyards protected by the Natura 2000 network, but currently isolated from other ecological corridors.
In order to preserve biodiversity, increase landscape diversification and attractiveness, we simulated the effects on direct and indirect costs of a solution for a green investment: riparian buffer strips (1,500 m), hedges with melliferous plants (500 m), noise reduction hedges (730 m) and a multipurpose forest (5,000 m2).
We conducted a cost analysis in order to evaluate the effects on profitability in different scenarios characterized by the sale of grapes, bulk and bottled wine and different vine cultivars. Data of yield, loss by shading, costs of production and processing are collected directly to a sample of 5 organic winemakers. The sample has been selected by organic wine producers with presence of comparable green infrastructure inside the vineyards.
We didn’t consider positive externalities such as ecosystem services, widely recognized in bibliography, but currently not internalized by the market. We kept track of winery carbon balance in order to evaluate costs for reaching the goal of carbon neutrality.
Direct and indirect costs were evaluated: the first ones are related to green investments, maintenance and treatments defense, while indirect cost is due to yield reduction, mainly produced by trees shading the vines. Vineyard landscape enhancement showed an increasing production cost, depending on vine cultivar (yield and profitability), vineyard size, shape and surface availability for semi-natural elements and type of product (grape, bulk wine, bottled wine). The impact of costs on profitability is equal to 6.45% (13,043 €/year) in the first scenario, 4.53% (15,263 €/year) in the second one and 1.57% (61,137 €/year) in the third. Obviously, if the whole production were Glera (Prosecco DOCG), the convenience to invest in green infrastructures would decrease.
The carbon neutrality target was not reached. A greater area of green infrastructures (1.02 hectares of wood) with an extra-cost of 0.07 €/bottle would have been needed to compensate for CO2 emissions.
The research shows how costs increase with landscape enhancement interventions in an organic winery. There are different strategies to compensate for the higher costs including environmental certification adoption, new market penetration and direct sales to tourists. The costs associated with enhancing the green spaces are well established while the potential benefits may be difficult to realize.
Issue: GiESCO 2023
1Department Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forest (L.E.A.F.) – Padua University
2Conegliano Campus 5.1C (TV)
3Local Action Group Veneto Orientale (VEGAL)
4Tenuta Planitia Winery – Portogruaro (VE)
5Colbel Winery – Pieve di Soligo (TV)
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ecovinegoals, agroecology, landscape enhancement, green investments, direct costs, indirect costs, carbon neutrality