50% of the energy used in the winery is self-generated


Bodegas Menade, in Rueda and La Seca, has completed the 2020 harvest with a production of 1.3 million kilos, a figure very similar to previous vintages due to the thorough measures carried out in their ecological vineyard, and with a significant reduction in energy consumption in the last twelve months.


At the end of 2018 Menade installed solar panels on the roof of the winery, following their philosophy of environmental sustainability and carbon footprint reduction, both in the field and in the winery’s production processes. Comparing the harvests of 2019 and 2020 shows that the winery has reduced emissions of CO2 by 73 tons, as it has self-generated 100,000 KW of energy.


The present vintage will be remembered in many ways; it has not been easy in the field, since this year has been marked by ample rainfall and moderate temperatures. This has led to the emergence of fungal diseases, such as mildew and powdery mildew, mainly due to a particularly rainy spring.


Fortunately, the Sanz siblings, pioneers in organic viticulture on their land, maintain strict control in the field throughout the year, applying only ozone and natural plant infusions to prevent pests, in addition to working the soil. This has contributed to very high-quality grapes entering the winery, and the yields obtained are similar to those of other years: around 6,500 kg/ha on average and 1,500 kg/ha in the oldest plots.


According to Marco Sanz, who is responsible for viticulture, the musts of the 2020 Verdeja “have good acidity; we foresee aromatic and full-bodied wines, ideal for storage”.


Innovation to respect the soil more


The Sanz siblings’ interest in using technology to obtain healthy and balanced grapes, in an environmentally friendly way, has encouraged them to develop an R&D&i project with a ‘fumigator’ drone.


In this way, and in collaboration with the company Agrodata, tests are being carried out to treat the vines from the air, which has many advantages: the soil does not clump, the drone acts in a much more localised way, pollution is reduced, and the working time is very similar to that which can be achieved with a tractor.


The drone first performs reconnaissance flights to make a map of the plots and plan the route. The device has one fuel tank, and another which houses the product; it flies over the lines at the appropriate height and applies the treatment according to the required quantity.


Although the technology is not 100% developed, the use of fumigator drones is a major step forward for precision viticulture, because they are no longer only used for digitalisation and remote sensing, but also for execution.