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25 November 2019 — OIV life

“The goal should be to maintain the biosphere and preserve the earth as the only capital of reference”

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Together with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, Director General Pau Roca presided the “Encuentro sobre el futuro del vino español” (“Meeting on the future of Spanish wine”), organised by the Nueva Economía Fórum, on 25 November 2019 in Madrid (Spain).

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On this occasion, Pau Roca explained how the OIV, since its creation, has been fundamental in the regulation of the sector: “the harmonisation of definitions, oenological practices, methods of analysis, labelling, etc. has levelled the playing field for more or less everyone. Even countries that are not members of the OIV follow its standards, or members refer to these in the context of certain trade agreements”.

Even though, in his opinion, this sector is far more regulated than others, “this does not impede the development of world trade, since wine is a highly internationalised product. Nearly one in every two bottles crosses a border”.

In this context, Pau Roca believes that: “the degree of standardisation is the product of historical maturity and evolution”. The OIV, “contrary to other bodies whose standards are mainly limited to food safety, deals with questions of integrity, identity, origin, etc., which are very important in the wine sector. In reality, we have been precursors to many quality standards in the wine sector”, he declared.

In this sense, the Director General considers that these regulatory conditions give the sector a distinct economic structure, whose most striking characteristic or symptom is the fragmentation and vast diversity of actors.

Although this is a hindrance to the existence of global brands, “because brands must compete for visibility with the origin”, he highlighted, “in a system of small dimensions, big investments and low immediate returns, this is not always a disadvantage”. The Director General of the OIV justified this in that “this economic structure will be a model of resilience, which, by innovating and adapting, is resisting against the inexorable climate crisis resulting from global warming”.

To address climate change, Pau Roca believes that “economists should study ecology more, to understand how some of the laws or basic principles work in a terrestrial or marine ecosystem.”

Sustainability as a new value for growth

The OIV Director General asserts that “an economy that pays attention to this reality is definitely on the right track. Growth will be an indicator of transition, yet the goal should be to preserve the biosphere; the objective of humanity is to preserve this finite asset that is the earth, and that, as such, is the only capital of reference”.

In fact, in his speech he placed emphasis on the new OIV Strategic Plan for the next five years (2020-2024).

This Strategic Plan has six major axes from which objectives to be pursued are derived, “and we have carried out an exercise to align these with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals [SDG]. If we succeed in fulfilling our Strategic Plan, we will be able to say that, in the wine sector, we are more or less on target, for 13 out of the 17 SDG”, Pau Roca reported.

Three axes are on sustainability and adaptation to climate change, without forgetting mitigation efforts, because, as Pau Roca sees it, “we have to provide an answer to the millions of producers that don't wish to relocate their production – which we as consumers don’t want, either. Three concepts form the basis of the terroir: the climate factor, which as we can see is uncontrollably changeable at the moment; the soil, which is also affected by the climate; and the plant material and great genetic diversity provided by the Vitis genus and the work of people and tradition”.

Note: The new OIV Strategic Plan will be available online in the next few weeks.