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A case for new vineyard classifications in Spain

Enrique Garrido, secretary of D.O. Montilla-Moriles and D.O. Vinagre Montilla-Moriles; Lola de Toro, manager of ceiA3 (Campus of International Excellence in Agri-food); Antonio Izquierdo, secretary of the Regulatory Council of D.O. Condado de Huelva, Vinagre del Condado de Huelva and Vino Naranja del Condado de Huelva; and Fco. Javier Aranda, secretary of the Regulatory Council of D.O. Málaga, D.O. Sierras de Málaga and Pasas de Málaga. Image courtesy GOPAGOS

A Spanish operative group GOPAGOS has presented its case to develop new vineyard classifications in the protected designation of origins (PDOs) Montilla-Moriles, Malaga and Sierras de Malaga, and Condado de Huelva and Vino Naranja del Condado de Huelva. The main purpose of the GOPAGOS group is to provide the participating PDOs with an empirical classification and definition of the territory, adding value to the territorial division and, therefore, to the wines produced there. The results of the research carried out by the group were presented during the tasting sessions of Vinoble International Wine Fair 2024.

 

Santiago Carrillo. Image courtesy GOPAGOS.

 

During the presentation, Santiago Carrillo, sommelier at El Corral de La Morería in Madrid, led a tasting to explore the different territories included in this research and to understand the characteristics of each terroir through the wines.

The results of the research carried out by the group were presented during the tasting sessions of Vinoble International Wine Fair 2024 by Pablo Bresó, a technician from the Andalusian Foundation for the Control of Agri-Food Quality (FCCAA); Enrique Garrido, general secretary of the DOs Montilla-Moriles and Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles; Fco. Javier Aranda, general secretary of the Regulatory Board of the DOs Málaga, Sierras de Málaga and Pasas de Málaga; and Antonio Izquierdo, general secretary of the Regulatory Board of the DOs Condado de Huelva, Vinagre del Condado de Huelva and Vino Naranja del Condado de Huelva.

During the presentation, Santiago Carrillo, sommelier at El Corral de La Morería in Madrid, led a tasting to explore the different territories included in this research and to understand the characteristics of each terroir through the wines.

 

Image courtesy GOPAGOS

 

The GOPAGOS project aims to establish an empirical territorial classification and management digitalisation of the traditional Andalusian wine sector of the appellations of origin concerned, in order to focus on the value of each territory and the wines produced there.

The aim of this project is to recover several historic pagos (vineyard sites) in Montilla-Moriles and Condado de Huelva, and to include Manilva in the classification already adopted for other parts of the PDO Málaga and Sierras de Málaga. In order to define each area, the group examined all the available historical and cadastral documentation before carrying out a characterisation of the territory based on edaphoclimatic and cultural criteria.

“GOPAGOS was set up to reinforce the importance of the terroir in the viticulture of the appellations of origin concerned,” said the group. “The research and experiments that have been carried out demonstrate the influence of climatic and soil factors on the quality of the pagos, and now make it possible to establish a clear relationship between the characteristics of the environment and the development of the vine, highlighting the need for precise management based on scientific data of the pagos.”

Edaphological analysis for objective classification

For the soil analysis, the Edaphology research group of the Agronomy Department at the University of Cordoba conducted a detailed study of the soil in each PDO, based on regional and national lithological and soil maps. This analysis, together with subsequent field visits and information obtained from growers and from samples taken from the various sites, provided the basis to understand the edaphic characteristics of each area.

A total of 19 soil profile evaluations were carried out by digging soil pits in Manilva (PDO Málaga and Sierras de Málaga), PDO Condado de Huelva, and Montilla-Moriles. Samples were also taken from 78 horizons of interest and 35 auger borings to verify the mapping information. These samples were analysed in the laboratory for various parameters such as moisture, soil texture, carbonate content, organic matter and pH, among others, providing a solid basis for identifying and demarcating the historical pagos. This study is essential to understand the distinctive characteristics of each territory and the results help to define the classification in each appellation of origin.

In addition, the AGR-124 Research Group on Remote Sensing and Precision Agriculture at the University of Córdoba has incorporated all the graphic bases in the vineyard registry of the DOs concerned into a geographical information system. This system will provide the graphical basis for the project’s activities and will be used to support the subsequent digital analysis required.

 

 

Image courtesy GOPAGOS.

 

A digital tool for the future

Climate data is also being collected and analysed with a view to incorporating it, along with soil data, into a digital app. This tool will provide a dynamic and updatable territorial information system for the Andalusian wine sector, protected by the appellations of origin concerned. For the GOPAGOS operative group, the tool will “allow continuous access to up-to-date information on climatic conditions, selected climate indicators for vineyard characterisation and extended classification with edaphological criteria, aspects and permanent slopes.”

This app, which is still in the testing phase, is intended to become “a tool to facilitate decision-making in the wine sector”, thus developing production strategies aimed at improving the quality of grapes and wines, based on a new territorial classification of these appellations of origin, as well as serving as a system to analyse the influence of climate change.

 

Tasting the different pagos in the study area

Santiago Carrillo, sommelier at El Corral de la Morería (Madrid), led the audience in a tasting of wines made from vines grown in various areas of the territory under study. The wines were all from different pagos and had the peculiarity of being made from the local grape variety of each area: Pedro Ximénez in Montilla-Moriles, Zalema in Condado de Huelva and Moscatel in Manilva.

The tasting began in PDO Condado de Huelva: Pago de la Dehesilla and Majuelo, with the wine Colección Descubrimiento 2021 (Marqués de Villalúa); Pago El Pino with Innocence 2022 (Bodegas Infante) and Pago Los Carrascales with Líbero 2020 (Bodegas Contreras Ruiz). The journey continued with two different areas of Manilva, in DO Málaga and Sierras de Málaga: first with the wine Nilva 2021 (Bodega Nilva) and then with Kalma 2022 (Bodegas Manilva). Four wines from the PDO Montilla-Moriles rounded off the tasting. First, Pago Cerro del Majuelo with Ximenium 2022 (Bodegas El Monte) and then a tour of 3 sub-pagos in Pago Benavente: Cuestablanca 2022 (Bodega Lagar Blanco) which shares its name with the sub-pago; the Cañada Navarro sub-pago, with El Pretil 2022 (Los Insensatos de la Antehojuela); and finally, the sub-pago Cerro Macho with Tres Miradas 2020 (Bodegas Alvear).

The work of the Operative Group will continue until the end of 2024 and is funded by the Andalusian Regional Government through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) for a total of €288,408.66.

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