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Miguel Torres signs up 1,000 wineries to climate protection pledge

Spanish wine giant and climate change activist Miguel Torres has received the backing from over 1,000 Spanish wineries to help combat climate change.

Industry luminaries such as Pablo Alvarez of Vega Sicilia signed the Barcelona Declaration, featuring 10 measures wineries must take in order to produce wine sustainably, last Thursday at the town hall in Barcelona.

The Declaration formed a major theme of the Wineries for Climate Protection conference chaired by Ricardo Lagos, the UN special envoy for climate change, the following day at the Fira de Barcelona.

The event saw 22 representatives from wineries around the world speak about how they are working towards a sustainable future.

Action points in the declaration include reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020, making winery buildings sustainable, using only renewable energy, conserving biodiversity and limiting the use of chemicals.

Miguel Torres (pictured), set to stand down as managing director of Torres in November, is already in talks with the Italian wine federation Federvini regarding a second conference, and will help roll out the declaration across Spain and into other winemaking countries over the next few years.

“The idea for the conference was to make a start as a society in taking an important step in assisting climate change," he told the drinks business. "Not all wineries will come on board, but we will try to get as many as possible to sign up.”

Torres admitted that having the word “organic” or “biodynamic” on a wine label makes little difference to consumers, but said that supermarkets like Waitrose and Tesco were taking an active interest in green initiatives.

“We need to take action or in 50 years the next generation will ask why we didn’t do anything. Spain is a leader in the process. It is my dream that in the future wine will be a symbol of health and an industry that is concerned with the environment.”

To see the full interview with Miguel Torres, click here

Lucy Shaw, 15.06.2011

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