In this final Sustainability in Alentejo episode, I speak with João Barroso, manager of the Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Programme (WASP). We discuss how the programme evolved from a need to respond to worsening climatic conditions, into a solid certification programme to help communicate the measured results of producers who take sustainability seriously.
João also discusses how the programme consciously developed a knowledge-sharing network to accelerate the uptake of best practices.
Some of these best practices include the use of regenerative farming which, in a drought-prone region like Alentejo, is showing very positive results. The difference here, as João says, is between trying to survive in a desert, or, thriving in a garden of Eden. Either way, viticulture at higher temperatures has to mean working with nature, as Professor Kimberly Nicholas has said earlier in the series.
The last point, as Dr Gregory Jones mentioned earlier, is about finding ways to expand these best practices beyond the regional level to the national and international levels.
This is where the wine producers and journalists and communicators interface to tell those stories. It seems to me that it is up to all of us to try and decode what is behind the certification labels.
We do this best by telling the stories of a contemporary viticulture that respects nature, promotes stewardship of the land, and ultimately inspires trust in consumers that the wine industry is on a sustainable pathway.