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26 May 2021 — Viticulture

The sustainable use of water in Winegrape vineyards

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New OIV collective expertise document on relevant principles for the sustainable use of water in Winegrape vineyards’ production. A tool for reference and guidance for the sector available on open source.

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Water resources, at global, regional and local levels are now recognised to be under severe pressure. Sustainable use of water has now become a societal, environmental, industry and business imperative across the globe, and a core policy for many governments, industries and commercial entities. Increasingly, social licence shall be dependent on the sound environmental credentials of all players in the supply chain, with sustainable water use as a leading theme.

Many vineyard areas in more recently developed, semi-arid or arid regions have annual rainfall which cannot reliably support modern viticultural systems. Meanwhile, in other long-established systems, rainfall quantity and reliability has become inadequate or unreliable, making it difficult to meet supply chain demands for quality and supply assurance.

Production systems have been further differentiated and adapted in the light of local conditions and resource availability (including water), informed by experience and relevant R&D, and according to the requirements of continually evolving markets.

The document has been drafted by the Viticulture Commission’s “Vine Protection and Viticultural Techniques” (PROTEC)

In this sense, the “Sustainable Use of Water in Winegrape Vineyards” document is intended to outline key, universally relevant principles specific to the activity of growing Winegrape vineyards, bearing in mind that variability in regional resource and environmental considerations, site characteristics and enterprise circumstances may be substantial, so requiring adaptation in practice to individual circumstances.

The document has been drafted by the Viticulture Commission’s “Vine Protection and Viticultural Techniques” (PROTEC) Group and revised by other OIV Commissions.* OIV Scientific and Technical Committee chart

This document is freely available here [EN]

Another step towards sustainability

The OIV adopted in 2018 the resolution OIV-VITI 569-2018 “OIV protocol for the sustainable use of water in viticulture” whose main objective is to define good water management practices based on principles of sustainability established in the OIV-CST 518-2016 resolution “OIV general principles of sustainable vitiviniculture - environmental - social - economic and cultural aspects”.

The OIV, aware that this resolution should be accompanied by a document that spelled out certain technical and scientific aspects, decided to create a document of collective expertise within the PROTEC Group, with the objective that this document could be a tool for reference and guidance for the sector regarding the sustainable use of water. Furthermore, this document seeks to respond to the objectives of the OIV’s Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2024, particularly axis 1 “Promote environmentally-friendly vitiviniculture” through points B and C: “Improvement of environmental performance” and “Preservation of natural resources”.

 A tool for reference and guidance for the sector available on open source

*OIV collective expertise documents are not submitted to the Step Procedure for Examining Resolutions and can under no circumstances be treated as OIV resolutions. Only resolutions adopted by the Member States of the OIV have an official character