Give Wine a Future: Transforming the wine industry through sustainability

Star Wine List will celebrate the wine lists of Ireland for the first time on 9 October and one of the most coveted categories is the Sustainable Wine List Award. In Ireland the category is presented by Familia Torres and Findlater & Co. Here is the story of their partnership.

(Partner story with Familia Torres)

When Miguel Torres first saw Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, it changed his life. The year was 2007 and Torres immediately understood the threat that climate change posed to viticulture ― not to mention life on Earth.

That’s because he’d seen with his own eyes that the Penedès region he grew up in was becoming hotter and drier.

Not long after seeing the film, he decided that Familia Torres, Spain’s largest family-owned winery, was going to be part of the solution.

Making a big impact

Since then, Familia Torres has not only reduced its carbon footprint by more than 40%, but it has partnered with wine businesses around the world to help drive change, culminating in the founding of International Wineries for Climate Action or the IWCA, with California-based family winery, Kendall Jackson. The IWCA is a collaborative group of like-minded wineries, committed to reducing carbon emissions across the wine industry.

Findlater & Co, importers and distributors of Familia Torres Wines in Ireland, founded the Give Wine a Future movement in 2021. Their mission is to support and promote wine producers who are actively working to have a positive impact on the planet, from the soil to glass.

Priorat winery.

“When approaching the question of how to take real climate action within our company, we took inspiration and guidance from the 40 years of research and climate initiatives by the Torres family ― very much a case of standing on the shoulders of giants,” says Richard Moriatry, Wines and Spirits Director with Findlater & Co.

And now, Torres and Findlater & Co are co-sponsoring The Sustainable Wine List category of the Star Wine List of the Year Awards in Ireland.

“We created the Sustainable Wine List category to celebrate the people who are making a positive impact on the environment,” says Krister Bengtsson, founder and publisher of Star Wine List. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have companies of the calibre of Torres and Findlater & Co working alongside us.”

About Give Wine a Future

In 2021, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a “red alert for humanity” reporting that global temperatures were likely to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming within two decades ― and that this rise would trigger a cascade of environmental disasters.

Subsequently, Findlater & Co felt compelled to educate and inform the wine trade on the issue of climate change and sustainability andGive Wine a Future was launched in September 2021.Their first action was to launch a series of virtual seminars with their big, climate action-focused producers, including Familia Torres.

“Big is often better when it comes to climate action, as larger producers have the influence and power to make a significant impact and drive real change, without compromising on exceptional quality,” adds Moriarty.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Mas La Plana.

Findlater & Co. has curated a Give Wine a Future portfolio of premium and fine wines, to showcase producers who go above and beyond in their sustainability efforts, across their whole business. It goes without saying that the wines are also delicious.

“Our long-term goal is to lead a movement across the entire Irish wine industry to ensure that the trade understands the core concepts of sustainable wine and can build the Give Wine a Future message into their wine list,” Moriarty goes on.

Findlater & Co. is in the process of engaging with strategic partners in the Irish on-trade to develop ambassadors who put sustainable Give Wine a Future producers at the heart of their own wine lists. These efforts are supported with wine dinners, masterclasses and events for both the trade and consumers, to spread the sustainable message across the Irish wine world.

Working with Familia Torres

One such event was the Give Wine a Future wine dinner for trade partners in Galway, held this past summer, and hosted by Brenda Nadia Sanchez, Brand Ambassador with Familia Torres. Over dinner, Sanchez shared many of the initiatives undertaken by Torres―while talking guests through a selection of premium wines from the Familia Torres portfolio.

There was a lot to discuss, including the Torres & Earth programme, created to research and implement climate change solutions, which was founded in 2008. Initiatives include implementing regenerative and organic practices in the vineyards; searching for long-forgotten varieties (“ancestral grapes”), regenerating those with potential and then putting them back into production; reducing emissions throughout the supply chain, with a net zero CO2 emissions target for 2040; investing in tree planting and other biodiversity projects; and capturing and re-using CO2 emitted during fermentation, among many other projects.

Porrera, Priorat.

The family has also been quick to share the results of their research through their annual Torres & Earth conferences showcasing leading scientists and researchers, as part of their mission to bring every winery on board with the IWCA objective of net zero CO2 for the global wine industry.

Today, visitors to Familia Torres’ winery and vineyards in the Penedès can see the future in action, at a walk-around exhibit showcasing CO2 capture.

But, there’s only so much that even dedicated businesses like Familia Torres and Findlater & Co. can do on their own. Everybody needs to play a part in mitigating against climate change and biodiversity loss―which is why the Star Wine List of the Year is proud of its Sustainable Wine List prize.

“It’s a key award for us,” says Star Wine List’s Bengtsson. “The more we can showcase and award sustainable initiatives, the more of them there will be.”

Published 19-September-2023
Partner content / Ireland

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