Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of experimental vineyard Pé Redondo, Bodegas Martín Códax organized the conference, "Towards sustainable winemaking. Ten years of R&D at Martín Códax". The event, which was open to the public, offered an overview of the winery's progress in research and development and analyzed sector trends and concerns in connection with sustainability.
The opening remarks were given by Mr. Miguel Angel Pérez Dubois, Territorial Head of the Regional Ministry of Rural and Marine Affairs, followed by a presentation from Mr. Juan Vázquez Gancedo, Director of Bodegas Martín Códax, who noted that the data obtained after years of research at Pé Redondo will be very useful for the sector. "A series of projects undertaken by Bodegas Martín Códax, aimed at better understanding the Albariño variety—which, until now, has not received much attention from an agronomic perspective—to ensure sustainable production at social, economic and environmental level and to enable winemakers to make a living while preserving these resources for future generations and contributing to the well-being of the Salnés Valley."
Other speakers at the event, which was organized in three sessions, included Mr. Jose Ramón Lisarrague, PhD in Agricultural Engineering from the Technical University of Madrid; Mr. Antonio Palacios, PhD in Biology and Enology, Associate Professor at the University of La Rioja, and head of Laboratorios Excell Ibérica; and Mr. Miguel Tubío and Ms. Katia Álvarez, Directors of Winemaking and Enology, respectively, at Martín Códax.
The first session, Aromas and Albariño, included a summary of research into the grape's aromatic potential. It was led by Antonio Palacios, who highlighted the compounds present in the wines and their impact on aroma quality. The primary differences in the aromatic, enzymatic and phenolic composition of the grape from vineyards in Salnés were also discussed; the data was collected during a Salnés Zoning study undertaken by the winery from 2006 to 2009. That project, which has enabled Bodegas Martín Códax to manage the widely disperse plots in the valley, confirmed that winemaking practices in the vineyard are more important in this regard than the location of the land.
This session also explored the main differences between Albariño wines in this sub-zone and those produced in El Condado and El Rosal. The differences are very clear due to variations in weather and soil.
The new Martín Códax project which commenced in 2012 was also highlighted, in which the winery is using remote sensing technology to classify the grape harvest as a function of each vineyard's enological potential.
The second session included a detailed presentation about the Cenit Deméter project, in which 25 companies (including Martín Códax) participated and which studied the effects of climate change on vineyards. Other topics included water management in vineyards as a key technique for mitigating those effects, and the tests performed by the winery on its vine training system and pruning methods, which yielded very valuable data for developing strategies to grow Albariño and ensure sustainability.
The bodega's latest sustainability projects were highlighted during the third session, including Viñas Atlánticas, in which it is working to favor the optimization and reduction of pesticide use along with two other cooperatives in the zone; 66% of Salnés Valley winemakers will benefit from this research.
Precision viticulture was another main focus. Bodegas Martín Códax started using this technique last year, and has confirmed that it improves sustainability in managing larger areas of vineyard since it allows for each plot to receive distinct treatment while standardizing the vineyards based on their potential and reducing the use of pesticides.
Bodegas Martín Códax presented its first Sustainability Report, for 2012, produced in line with its policy of transparency and its strategic goal of enhancing the sustainability of its processes. The company also discussed the carbon footprint associated with a bottle of its wine (the first figure published in Rías Baixas), the main factors affecting it and the breakdown during the various phases of production, from the vineyard to the bottle's journey to market.
The conference concluded with a roundtable discussion with several experts. The public was able to participate, and the debate revolved around the challenges facing winemakers in connection with sustainability.