The strategy for sustainability in the wine sector of the EU refers to a set of practices and principles that aim to minimize the negative impact of wine production on the environment, social and economic sustainability. Sustainable wine production involves a range of practices that are designed to reduce waste, conserve resources, and promote the well-being of workers and communities.
1. Vineyard management: Sustainable vineyard management involves practices that minimize the use of chemicals and pesticides, conserve water, and promote soil health
2. Energy efficiency: Wineries can reduce their carbon footprint by implementing energy-efficient practices, such as using renewable energy sources, investing in energy-efficient equipment, and improving insulation.
3. Water conservation: Water is a critical resource in wine production, and sustainable wineries seek to minimize water use through measures like drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and recycling wastewater.
4. Packaging and shipping: Sustainable wineries aim to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging and shipping practices by using recycled materials, minimizing packaging waste, and reducing transportation emissions.
5. Social responsibility: Sustainable wineries also prioritize social responsibility by treating workers fairly, supporting local communities, and promoting diversity and inclusion.
One of the proposed approaches is to expand the use of disease resistant hybrid grape cultivars (DRHGC) (‘PIWI’ grapes), and to introduce new DRHGCs, which have the potential to assist with the implementation of the European Green Deal 2050 and the EU ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy. DRHGCs have thus been very recently permitted for PDO wines, leading to a completely new perspective in the production of wines with protected appellation (“Regulation (EU) 2021/2117,” 2021). DRHGCs are of interest since they allow for much fewer treatments in the vineyard and thus can limit the indirect negative consequences of such treatments: improved job security due to less labor in the fields; less soil compaction in the vineyard; positive impacts on responsible tourism and on neighbouring activities, particularly in the context of (perurban viticulture. However, the characteristics of DRHGCs wines are different, which makes it necessary to take measures and make changes in winemaking technology to maintain high quality. The winemaker must account for high titratable acidity, malic acid, pH, protein, polysaccharide levels and low condensed tannin levels. This can leave them vulnerable to microbial spoilage and would lower the astringency of DRHGC wines. DRHGCs often have problems due to too high yeast assimilable nitrogen leading to excessively hot fermentations. An interdisciplinary analysis is being carried on in South Tyrol where PIWI wines are cultivated, with the aim to produce a case test on different target groups: producers, retailers and buyers, hospitality workers, and consumers regarding both the environmental advantages and the particularities of wines made from DRHGCs (PIWI wines).