Spain’s leading family of winemakers is heading for the hills to keep ahead of the perceived global warming that threatens their Catalan vineyards, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
The Torres family has been making wine in the northeastern Penedes region for four generations, but now is buying plots near the foothills of the Pyrenees as conditions in its traditional vineyards become increasingly dry.
“We are moving into cooler areas of northern Catalonia, towards the Pyrenees,” said the company’s chairman, Miguel Torres. “We have already planted vineyards successfully that we can use in the future.”
The company has planted 104 hectares of vines at about 1,000 meters above sea level in the foothills near Tremp – four times higher than their main winery near Penedes, west of Barcelona.
The company said: “Climate change is unfortunately a reality, not only established by scientists; we ourselves, who work with the fruit of the land, are aware of the problems.”
Catalan winemakers will have to shift production north to avoid their vines shriveling up, Torres predicts. The majority of Catalonia’s traditional wine-producing regions will become “totally unviable” within 40 or 70 years, according to research that Torres’ wine scientist, Xavier Sort, presented at the first international conference on wine and global warming, held in Barcelona in March.
“In the next 10 years, we will see that grapes that do well today by the sea will move to the central valley,” said Torres. “Those in the central valley -Tempranillo, primarily – will go up to the mountains.”