The steep vineyard landscape on the banks of the Mosul River in Germany is a distinctive symbol of the region, which cannot be understood without its wine: the Mosul wine region. Tourists from all over the world, especially from the neighboring countries of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands visit the region in search of mountains and wine. However, the shortage of new generations, the increase in temperatures and the shortening of heavy summer rains caused by climate change threaten wine production.
In this sense, the European H2020 Diverfarming project began in 2018 with diversification of steep slopes, ecological grapevine (up to 70%). In the majority of vineyards, the introduction of herbaceous species has spread to vegetation, with herbaceous plants in alleys between the vineyards, but below them being fought with herbicides or mechanically. With the aim of reducing soil erosion, increasing soil fertility, and mitigating the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, a team of researchers from the University of Trier (Germany) coordinated by Professor Manuel Seeger and Professor Suren Thiel-Braun has put into practice. Aromatic plants (thyme and oregano) under the vineyards of the wine manufacturer “Weingut Dr. Frey”.
After three years of diversification, the team formed by researchers Felix Dietrich, Thomas Iserloh, Roman Hoppe, Sophie Ogan, Surin Thele-Braun, Manuel Seeger and wine entrepreneur, Kord Trezler, has published the first results of diversification on vineyard productivity and wine quality. . These results demonstrate the potential potential of these practices as they did not have adverse effects in wine production.
Although there is a certain amount of competition between the aromatic cap and vineyards for water and nutrients, these effects are far from negative, which raises the thought that they may have a positive effect on the quality of the wine, researcher Manuel Seger said. Comments. This is related to the reduction of some nutrients: while nitrate availability did not have any change in crop diversity, the levels of ammonium, phosphorus and potassium decreased in the upper area of the soil (the first 10 cm). However, it is known that there is a certain relationship between the quality of the wine and the available potassium. The results of this study indicate that a change in the availability of mineral acidity of the soil appears to generate an increase in the quality of these wines. Moreover, the principle of yield compensation is observed: although the yield of grapes is slightly lower, this is compensated for by an increase in quality.
The study sheds light on extreme climate events that have occurred over three years of diversification. In 2018, storms produced one month of rain in the region in just one hour; While 2019 and 2020 saw record high temperatures and droughts. In this way it is evident that water availability and climatic conditions are the two most determining factors of vineyard productivity. Despite this, if we take the harsh conditions into account, the diversification did not have any negative effects on the yield or the quality of the wine. In consolidated positions and with the long-term stability of diversification, this opens the door to an increase in profits thanks to diversification.
Preserving the distinctive landscapes of the area, reducing pollutant emissions, and increasing biodiversity in both soils as well as in other organisms such as insects will contribute an added value to this sector, which is currently open to changes that enable to meet this shortage of generational substitution and scenarios from Climate change impacts are expected. All this to save the future of Mosul wine.
Diverfarming is a project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Program, within the framework of the challenge of “Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Marine and Marine Research, Inland Waters and Bioeconomy” under Agreement 728003, which relies on the participation of the universities of Cartagena, Cordoba (Spain), Tossia (Italy) and Exeter Portsmouth (United Kingdom), Wageningen (Netherlands), Trier (Germany), Beek (Hungary) and ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the research centers Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria (Italy), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas ( Spain), LUKE Natural Resources Institute (Finland), ASAJA agricultural organization, Casalasco and Barilla (Italy), Arento, LogísticaDFM, Industrias David (Spain), Nieuw Bromo Van Tilburg, Ekoboerdeij de Lingehof (Netherlands) and Weingut Dr. Frey (Germany), Nedel-Market KFT and Gere (Hungary), Paavolan Kotijuustola and Polven Juustola (Finland).