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February good news

Some reasons to be cheerful – our monthly report on some recent positive developments in wine sustainability.

February good news

AI could reduce chemical use in vineyards 

VineForecast, a German startup company, has developed new AI technology which can help reduce excessive use of pesticides in vineyards by 25%.  Pesticides can have negative impacts on vineyards and vines, including decreasing the biodiversity of the soil and the soil microorganisms and general biodiversity, decreasing water quality of nearby streams and rivers, and reducing pollinator numbers. VineForecase will help farmers and winemakers better anticipate weather and environmental conditions, and help them better tailor their sprays to when they’re really needed.

Grapevine Microbiome Study

The Global Initiative of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment is running a grapevine microbiome study to assess the soil biodiversity of grapevines across the world. This will help map the state and condition of vineyards, assess the elements (such as excessive ploughing, fertilizers and pesticides) which have been damaging the delicate balance of the soil health, and therefore lead to learnings about how to improve it. To learn more about the importance of vineyard soil health, read more about regenerative farming, and the underground world of fungi.

A glimpse of positivity

Not completely wine-specific, but we spotted this interview with climate scientist Hannah Ritchie which gives some science-based reasons for optimism.

Barn owls in Napa

Here’s a video showing you a fluffier side of Napa than you might be expecting. Conservation scientist Carrie Wendt oversees barn owl boxes in 65 different wineries in Napa, helping them work in harmony with the vineyards by keeping the rodent population under control. This means the winemakers don’t need to use rodenticides which may harm the vineyard. 

Some stories supplied by The Regenerative Viticulture Foundation 
Amy Matthews

Acting Senior Editor

Amy Matthews

Amy is currently Acting Senior Editor at The Wine Society, including editing the Sustainability Hub. She has worked in wine for nearly twenty years for importers, wine bar groups and national retailers, as well as freelance drinks writing and content consultancy.

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