Penedès to become world’s first 100% organic DO
All eyes in Penedès, just south of Barcelona, are turned to 2025 when the Spanish region is poised to become the first DO in the world to go completely organic, its president tells db.
“Seven years ago, we began to explain to everybody about the positive impact of becoming organic in the future,” D.O Penedès president Joan Huguet told the drinks business.
“For us, it is easy. We are a region near the sea, so we have few problems, and it is easy for us to be organic. We are sure that organic is better for our landscape, more healthy and more sustainable. With climate change, conversion is becoming easier because we have less rain, less humidity and so less risk of funghi attacks.”
Huguet added: “For sure, in 2025 it will be compulsory to be organic. If you are not organic you cannot be part of D.O Penedès.”
Given that Penedès has vineyards planted “from zero geometres near the sea to 600 metres altitude”, going uniformly organic across the region is not without its challenges, but Huguet told db that” growers, wineries, associations and agriculture schools have been doing a lot of organic courses to explain step-by-step the way to convert to organic viticulture.”
He also confirmed that D.O Penedès will “help small producers by supporting the cost [of converting to organic] in the vineyard and in the cellar.”
The D.O currently produces 18 million bottles of still wine and 1 million bottles of sparkling, and shares the region with D.O Cava and D.O Catalunya, which means “growers can choose what viticulture to develop in their vineyards,” said Huguet.
Given that all three D.Os have a strong focus on producing Cava, communicating a clear message to consumers about the unique aspects of each D.O is tough.
In addition to its organic focus, D.O Penedès plans to prioritise its indigenous white Xarel.lo grape.
The fact that Xarel.lo makes wines that don’t overshadow cuisines and provide a blank slate for chefs to allow their food to shine, they could prove especially popular with the on-trade.
“Xarel.lo produces gastronomic wines, where the flavour is more neutral,” Huguet explained. “Xarel.lo wines need to be served at the table as they respect the food you have cooked.”
He believes that Xarel.lo wines have “the capacity be aged with oak for many years” and revealed that his vision is to see Xarel.lo on the wine lists of international restaurants.