The winery has helped with the installation of a number of sensors in the rocky Cotiella glacier in Alto Aragón (Huesca), to find out whether it is still active. The work was part of the “Vidas” (“Lives”) initiative, whereby Viñas del Vero is helping build a better world by supporting specific projects that are driven by a clear commitment to the environment and are designed to preserve and restore the health of the planet. To achieve this objective, “Vidas” will be supporting a number of anonymous, unknown initiatives that are being driven by people with substantial environmental awareness. People who are dedicating effort to preserving and restoring the Earth’s health. The first example of these initiatives is “The hidden Cotiella Glacier”.
Every year since 2003 ‘International Mountain Day’ has been celebrated on 11th December, designed to raise awareness of the biodiversity of mountains and combat the threats they face. The fact is that, according to the United Nations, mountains are home to 15% of the world’s population and to almost 50% of biological diversity.
Their glaciers constitute geological and environmental richness beyond compare, but rising temperatures are accelerating their disappearance. According to a study by the Pyrenean Observatory for Climate Change (OPCC), an area of glaciers equivalent to 516 hectares has disappeared since 1984.
As a response to this situation, research is under way to determine whether it is possible that the rocky glacier in the Cotiella massif right at the heart of the Pyrenees is still active. The research was initiated by biologist and environmental educator Helena Parga, and is being made possible thanks to support from Viñas del Vero. The winery has helped set a number of sensors in the glacier that monitor changes in temperature.
This particular support initiative is part of Viñas del Vero’s “Vidas” project and marks another step forward in implementing the company’s philosophy of looking after the environment, which will also help it produce quality grapes, from vines planted in healthy soil irrigated with clean water. Each of these projects will be the subject of one of a series of reports that will explain each one and create awareness of them.
‘The hidden Cotiella Glacier’ is the first in the series and describes the support being given to the project led by biologist Helena Parga. Titled “Following the footprint of the glacier”, as well as assessing whether or how active it is, the project seeks to increase society’s environmental awareness. “The history of the Pyrenees is our own history. It positions us in the present and puts us in charge of making the decision as to where we want to go,” explains the biologist, who is based in Benasque. The starting point for her research was a doctoral thesis by doctor of Geology Ánchel Belmonte, who is scientific coordinator at the Sobrarbe-Pirineos Unesco World Geopark. “The study of the Cotiella rocky glacier started with my doctoral thesis years ago and it was Helena who, some while later, encouraged me to come back here and continue to study it,” Belmonte observes.
The sensors bought by Viñas del Vero will enable the glacier’s temperature to be tracked on an ongoing basis, whilst any movement will be measured by orthophotography.
Subsequently, all the data collected will be passed on to the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Zaragoza, which will process them and draw its own conclusions.
More than a decade of commitment to the environment
“The launch of ‘Vidas’ only reinforces our commitment to the fight against climate change and to preserving the environment that is home to our winery in Alto Aragón,” underscores José Ferrer, managing director at Viñas del Vero. The Company has been working for over a decade on implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with its business as much as possible.
Back in 2016 the company launched a European project titled ‘Life + Rewind’ that involved installing a photovoltaic array, a purification plant for turning the water used in the winery into irrigation water and a hydro-generator to power an agricultural vehicle.
Then, in 2019 it installed a semi-fast charging point for electric vehicles, supplied with surplus energy from its photovoltaic array. Viñas del Vero thus became the only winery in Spain to offer hydrogen and electric charging – both from renewables – for both employees’ and visitors’ vehicles.
“5+5 Looking after the Planet”
The “Vidas” Project is part of “5+5 Looking after the Planet”, González Byass’ substantial sustainability plan. All the wineries in the González Byass Family of Wines share the plan’s commitment to their surroundings and to responsible use of natural resources in order to ensure balanced growth that delivers benefits both locally and globally. The initiative is based in the here and now but looks to the future. It is also a commitment embraced by all five generations of the González family that have led the business thus far and will be taken up by the next five generations who will continue to work on this mission.
See ‘The hidden Cotiella Gacier’ here