The Ecological Vineyard - Bodegas Williams & Humbert
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BODEGAS
WILLIAMS & HUMBERT

BODEGAS
WILLIAMS & HUMBERT

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THE ECOLOGICAL VINEYARD

In 2015, Williams & Humbert began working with organic grapes from the vineyard terrains (Pagos) of Burujena and Maritata. The result was the launch of the first Organic Oloroso and Fino sherries of the Marco de Jerez, the sherry wine region. The new Fino from the 2015 Vintage was launched on the market in 2018, and the Organic Oloroso from the 2015 grape harvest was launched in 2022. These organic sherries are the result of a careful process which, right from the start – from the harvest of this organic grape through to the wine press where it is processed, the alcohol used to fortify it and the place where the wine is aged – complies with all of the requirements of the organic certification.

Since 2015, the Winery has been cultivating its own organic vineyard, some 40 hectares, both in the Añina and Carrascal winegrowing terrains. In doing this, Williams & Humbert are taking on the challenge of organic winegrowing with the aim of producing certified organic wines from the Sherry Wine Region. This method of winegrowing is done using techniques that are regulated by the organic standards, with special practices such as appropriate pruning and improving the fertility of the soil using treatments that respect and even improve the development of beneficial fauna.

Williams & Humbert are part of an innovative project that aims to promote organic cultivation of the Pedro Ximénez grape variety in the Sherry Wine Region, aimed at producing new organic sweet wines. This initiative will allow us to continue diversifying and improving resources in the region, offering new business opportunities to professionals and responding to market trends. Furthermore, this initiative will be able to promote the cultivation of the Pedro Ximénez variety, helping to expand the insufficient surface area currently dedicated to this variety in the Sherry Wine Region.

Alongside the implementation of this project, a study is being carried out on the organic cultivation of the Pedro Ximénez variety compared with conventional cultivation. For this, two plots of land situated in the Williams & Humbert vineyards have been allocated. This Winery is the only one in the Region that is growing this variety organically and conventionally in the same vineyard, making it easier to set up and carry out investigative tests. It is important to note that these two plots, 3 hectares that are certified organic and 2 hectares grown conventionally, have the same agricultural and climate conditions, meaning that the results of the study will be representative.

In each plot, the physiological, agronomic and oenological parameters are being monitored in order to establish the viability and profitability of organic growing compared with conventional growing in the Sherry Wine Region. Furthermore, the grapes harvested in 2022 were sun-dried in the field and transferred to the Institute of Wine and Agro-Food Research (IVAGRO) at the University of Cádiz to produce various sweet wines. Researchers from the University’s Food Technology and Engineering Research Group (AGR-203) carry out different tests in the field (studies on physiology, agronomy and sun-drying), and in the winery (oenological profile and production of wines), to evaluate the response of the Pedro Ximénez variety to organic growing, and its oenological potential for producing new types of sweet wines in the Sherry Wine Region. Through this project we aim to contribute to developing a winegrowing industry that is more respectful of the environment, and to diversify production with new wine products.

In order to carry out this project, the IVAGRO Research Institute of the University of Cádiz has a pilot plant equipped for processing grapes and carrying out micro-winemaking, scientific laboratories with high tech equipment, which will enable them to produce a complete profile of musts and wines, and a standardised tasting room, to carry out sensory analysis of the wines produced.

This project was presented at the 10 th National Congress of Oenological Research (GIENOL), held in Murcia from the 23 rd to the 26 th May 2022. Furthermore, the first results of the field evaluation on the physiological response of the Pedro Ximénez grape variety have been presented at the 4 th Winegrowing Conference of the Spanish Society for Horticultural Sciences (SECH), held from the 26 th to the 28 th October in Pamplona/Iruña.

The knowledge gained from this research will constitute valuable information for professionals in the winegrowing sector, and will provide a viable alternative with promising future prospects. This R&D+i project is being carried out by the working group NVITEC-PX, which is made up of: Bodegas Williams & Humbert, the Jerez Regulatory Board (Consejo Regulador de Jerez), Cádiz Provincial Council, Ecovalia and the University of Cádiz.

This project has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock Farming, Fishing and Water and Sustainable Development of the Regional Government of Andalusia, and Integrated Territorial Investment from the Province of Cádiz. Having commenced in May 2022, this research project will run for two years.






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BODEGAS
WILLIAMS & HUMBERT

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