Climate is changing
what does it means for Olivi Le Buche Winery?

Società Agricola Le Buche srl

Producing good to excellent wines requires before all, a good terroir. The notion of terroir has often been mistakenly simplified to the nature of the soil where the vineyard lies. In reality, the notion of terroir is much broader: it encompasses the location, the nature of the soil, the orientation, the climate, etc.
And the climate is as key as the soil type, as it impacts the plants in all its parts, above ground but also underneath the surface of the soil.

Climate change is a topic that is on the table since at least 30 years but that has become much more visible to us in recent years as it manifests itself in a rather violent way: extreme heat waves over long periods resulting in large scale fires, droughts and slow desertification of southern Europe territories, extreme storms and precipitations ending up in floods and accelerated erosion of arable lands, very cold snaps in spring that can damage plants like vines or fruit trees, etc.

In the wine producing landscape, the climate, or the weather at a year scale is shaping each vintages and giving it its characteristics. It is key, for a perfect crop, to have a growing season where:
- early season night freeze do not damage young leaves of flower buds,
- that there is enough water during the growing season to allow a good vegetative growth
- light and temperature to be at the right level for constant growth and maturation
- day and night temperatures to be in an optimal range

For example:
- extreme temperatures can create a stress on the plants that can stop their growth or at a later stage, block the fruit ripening process
- a good balance between warm days and fresh night, especially towards the end of the season develops more complexity in the wines, ie better quality

At Le Buche, this is a topic Ricardo takes very seriously and it is often a topic of discussion with his colleagues winemakers.

To protect the vines and the grapes from extreme conditions of the weather (here we think mainly about the heat during the summer and potentially the lack of water during the warm season), activities are performed according to the plant needs.
- working the soil can be done at a defined frequency to better control the evaporation of the water in the soil,
- management of the canopy (foliage) helps to regulate the temperature around the plant and protect the fruits from extended exposure to the sun,
- when planting a new vineyard, orientation of the rows versus the slope of the terrain will help limit the erosion risk in case of violent storms and rainfalls,
- grass between the vine rows help to limit water evaporation and can bring nutritive elements to the soil. It also favors animal biodiversity in the ground (like earthworms for example) which play a key role for aeration and water circulation around the roots.

Ricardo has also to keep in mind a long term strategy in case the trend does not change, as some vine varieties are better adapted to warm climates than others. This is key when a new vineyard is planted or when you replace some old vines that died during the winter.
It will ultimately result in a different blend for some wines, to raise the overall quality using the most successful varietal of each growing season.

Climate evolution requires constant evolution and at Le Buche, we have understood that it is key to stay on top of this game to produce year after year the best wines for you.

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