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González Byass, el “Ángel de Viñas”

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Vinyard Angel” is an initiative that González Byass and its Foundation have devised in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Madrid to retrieve, preserve, look after and maintain old vineyards that are on the brink of extinction. All with the aim of preventing loss of biodiversity, tradition, culture and history.

Jerez de la Frontera, August 2021.- Old vineyards encapsulate centuries of culture and tradition. They are historic natural treasures that are key to safeguarding the biodiversity of their environment and are the source of wines that boast unique features. Today, some are at risk of being forgotten about. To preserve this heritage, González Byass and its Foundation have launched “Vineyard Angel”, an initiative expected to rollout over the long term and that seeks to retrieve, maintain and preserve Spain’s old vineyards. The first phase of the project will consist of retrieving a 74-year-old vineyard in the Rueda Designation of Origin, located at Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Ávila) and that belongs to the town council.

For González Byass, “Vineyard Angel” marks one more step towards achieving its objective of guaranteeing that the natural and historic heritage that are intimately linked to the location, are preserved. This mission is being supported by the Grupo de Investigación de Viticultura de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Vineyard Research Group at the Polytechnic University of Madrid), which is comprised of eminent researchers including José Ramón Lissarrague, Vicente Sotés and Pilar Baeza. The team will be supporting González Byass in assessing and selecting the most interesting initiatives to undertake, based on pre-determined premises of relevance to vineyards.

Every year, “Vineyard Angel” will bring another three unique vineyards, located in any of Spain’s wine producing regions, into the scheme. González Byass and its Foundation will take on the commitment of keeping the vineyard going, growing grapes on it and promoting it. In each instance this will be a long-term commitment, so the selected vineyards will enjoy financial support for a minimum of three years to ensure the project’s continuity.  The support could take the form of buying the grapes and/or the wine or paying for the work involved in maintaining the vineyard.

Part of González Byass’ “5+5 Looking after the Planet” sustainability initiative, “Vineyard Angel” will be aiming to create a global, cooperative ecosystem that groups together technicians, publicists, historians and universities. The team will undertake a series of projects that will build a holistic vision designed to care for the vineyard’s particular biodiversity, maintain its soil and highlight the virtues of each grape variety, whilst bringing to life and preserving history.

“Vineyard Angel” is a fresh demonstration of this family of Wines’ commitment to nurturing and protecting the soil and the vineyards, an approach that informs the work that is done daily everywhere the company operates and that is now extending into every one of Spain’s winegrowing regions. The project also opens a window to the past that will help the company progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 15 “Life on Land”, which advocates protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable usage of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, halting and reversing land degradation, combatting desertification and halting biodiversity loss.

A 74-year-old vineyard in D.O. Rueda  

González Byass’ first undertakings in the “Vineyard Angel” project are centring on recovering a vineyard in the Rueda Designation of Origin. The property of the town council, it is located in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, one of the four municipalities in the province of Ávila that come under this D.O.. The town is also an historical enclave as it was the birthplace of Isabel la Católica. The vineyard covers some 10 hectares and is planted with exceptional Verdejo vines trained in the gobelet style.

The partnership will include making a high-quality wine from the grapes grown in the vineyard at the cutting edge Beronia winery located in this Designation of Origin. The exceptionally sandy soil in which the vines are planted will be studied at the same time.

This first “Vineyard Angel” undertaking is a notable example of a public-private partnership that aims to recover and restore value to old vineyards, give the local population some security, and promote D.O. Rueda, its vineyards and the local economy.

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