NEWS

Montes Wines adapts to climate change with 'dry farming'

02/26/2015 12:56 EST | Updated 04/28/2015 05:59 EDT
Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes, Jr is preparing his grapes for warmer, dryer weather with a method called "dry farming" where he relies on rain to grow the grapes.

"No one in the world is not afraid about this global warming or climate change, so everyone is doing something. We want to be a little more aggressive in what we're doing … we want to go faster than the climate," the director of wine making for Montes Wines told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff, while in town for the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Dry farming uses about 65 per cent less water than traditional farming methods.

"We have been preparing the vines to be able to survive without water or with a little bit of water," he said.

"In the last seven years we decreased the amount of water that we used ...  the amount of water that we decreased is the same amount of water that 20-thousand people use in one year."

The trade-off for saving water is a drop in production of around 50 per cent.

"It's a lot of cost that we add to the process, but you talk about being sustainable, when you talk about the quality of the wines — that's the best thing. It's maybe a little bit more expensive, but at the same time you gain in quality."

To hear the full interview with Aurelio Montes, Jr, click the audio labelled: Wine and climate change.

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