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González Byass’ “Vineyard Angel” project to recover two unique vineyards in the heart of Penedès

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For the second year running, Vineyard Angel (Ángel de Viñas) will rescue two unique vineyards in the Espiells area, Alto Penedés region: the initiative is designed to recover and care for old vineyards on the verge of extinction.

 Old vineyards encapsulate centuries of culture and tradition. They are historic natural treasures, key to safeguarding biodiversity in their environment and the source of unique and very special wines. Today, many are at risk of being forgotten.

To preserve this heritage, González Byass launched “Vineyard Angel” in 2021: a long-term initiative that seeks to retrieve, maintain and preserve Spain’s old vineyards. The first phase worked to retrieve a 74-year-old vineyard, owned by the Madrigal de las Altas Torres town council (Ávila), in the D.O. Rueda, last year. The second Vineyard Angel project (Ángel de Viñas) initiative by González Byass, moves to north-western Spain this year with the aim of recovering and preserving two Xarel.lo and Macabeo vineyards located in Espiells, a historic wine-growing area in Alto Penedés.

Each vineyard, 40 and 50 years-old respectively, is nestled in the depths of the Penedès countryside and have been worked by several generations of a family of viticulturists that has been linked to the Vilarnau winery for years. The first 1.2 Ha 40-year-old, Xarel.lo vineyard was regrafted in 1982 and is owned by Oriol Roig, from a wine-growing family that has supplied since 2019. The second vineyard, planted with 0.4 Has of Macabeo was planted in 1972 by Roig's grandfather.

As part of the Vineyard Angel project both vineyards will be monitored and maintained by the González Byass viticultural team to ensure the valuable natural heritage that these plots represent. The work will be carried out in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Madrid’s Viticulture Research Group of the, made up of eminent viticultural professionals.

Every year, the “Vineyard Angel” project will add unique, Spanish vineyard locations to the scheme. González Byass will take on the commitment of keeping the vineyard going, cultivating the grapes and promoting the resulting wine. In each instance this will be a long-term pledge, so that the selected vineyards can benefit from financial support for a minimum of three years and ensure the project’s continuity: this support could take on many forms from buying grapes and/or the wine to paying for the work involved in maintaining the vineyard.

Part of González Byass’ “5+5 Caring for the Planet” sustainability initiative, “Vineyard Angel” aims to create a global, cooperative eco-system that brings together technicians, publicists, historians and universities. The team will undertake a series of projects to give a holistic vision whose aim is to care for the vineyard’s particular biodiversity, maintain its soils and highlight the USPs of each grape variety, whilst bringing to life and preserving history.

Vineyard Angel” is yet another demonstration of the González Byass ‘Family of Wines & Spirits’ commitment to nurturing and protecting the soil and the vineyards, an approach that reaches every aspect of the daily workings of the company, which now touches every one of Spain’s quality winegrowing regions. The project also opens a window to the past, helping the company progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Nº 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.

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