Ask a Winemaker Part 2: Miquel Salarich of Segura Viudas Puts Sustainability and Innovation First

Segura Viudas & Sharp

Earlier this year, the body that sets the rules for Cava production, the Consejo Regulador del Cava, announced new and far-reaching rules to differentiate Spain’s famous fizz from other sparkling wines made in other regions—both New World and Old.

Some of the new regulations extend to ageing and labelling—get ready to see more vintages listed on labels and longer-aged wines—but the most interesting ones involve sustainability. Now, grape yields will be lower, making for a lower-impact viticulture and all Reserva and Gran Reserva expressions will have to come from completely organic vineyards. Cava comes in white and pink, but before long, all of it will be green.

These changes may sound sweeping, but for many winemakers in Spain, especially Segura Viudas, located in the northeastern coastal region, sustainable and eco-friendly practices have long been in place. Many growers don’t have to go back to the way their grandparents made wine, mainly because they never stopped doing it that way in the first place. Segura Viudas, among the most prestigious Cava houses and already a certified organic wine producer, is also a leader in greenhouse gas emission and water waste reductions.

Segura’s new head winemaker, Miquel Salarich, tells us about their sustainability efforts:

Segura Viudas has been awarded the “Wineries for Climate Protection” certificate. What does that mean?
The Wineries for Climate Protection is a specific certification for the wine sector in the field of environmental sustainability. Overall, the objective of the organization is to find solutions and best practices for wineries and to recognize winemakers that have implemented these practices. The WFCP certification allows us to demonstrate in a concrete, measurable and independent way our winery’s sincere commitment to environmental sustainability.

That’s quite an accomplishment!
Yes, thank you! But we think of it more as a process than an achievement. Working to improving our carbon and water footprint is a never-ending journey.

How important are indigenous grapes to biodiversity and sustainability?
In recent years, in many areas of Spain, the rich heritage of indigenous varieties is being rediscovered. These had been forgotten in the backyard for decades, due to the popularity of French varieties in international markets. We are amazed at how these varieties behave. They withstand climate change much better and allow more sustainable agricultural practices.

Since they’re indigenous grapes, one might expect them to support biodiversity better. Is that right?
Yes, when you revive the grapes that naturally evolved in the region, everything benefits—the soil, the terroir and, of course, the other plants, insects and animals native to the area.

Can you taste the difference?
Yes, you can! It’s hard to describe, exactly, but they add some new notes and flavour profiles that are unique to this region and give our incomparable wines something genuine and authentic that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.