Coffee waste from Bodegas Marqués de Vizhoja is used to combat fungal disease.
Galicia is the wettest region in Spain, with average annual precipitation ranging from 800 mm in the driest areas to 2,200 mm along the Atlantic coast.
Given this concern, fungal problems in vineyards are quite common, and viticulture has been adapted accordingly, such as by training vines to pergolas or by erecting trellises that allow for better air circulation. In addition, antifungal chemical treatments are commonly used to combat problems such as Esca, Petri, and Black foot disease.
In an interview with Decanter, Javier Peláez, the proprietor of Bodegas Marqués de Vizhoja, stated, ‘This heavy reliance on chemicals is one of the reasons we’ve been investigating alternative treatments for the vineyards that do not rely on chemicals and are ultimately more sustainable.’
As one of several potential methods to prevent the development of fungi and maintain the health of the vines’ wood, this new line of research has led to the use of used coffee grounds in vineyards.
Peláez stated, “It’s an exercise in circular economy: the waste from coffee machines is reused in our vineyards, creating a cross-economy link between Galician businesses in addition to the sustainability factor.”
They have been collaborating with the Galician coffee producer Verdadero c.f.e., whose director, Gustavo Cascón, stated that 900kg of spent grounds were collected for the initial phase of the project.
Trials have been conducted in an orchard located in the city of Arteixo where coffee grounds were used solely as fertilizer. Now, in 2022, the trial will be conducted in three different Albario vineyards over the course of three years. Totaling 40 hectares, Marqués de Vizhoja primarily cultivates Albario, but also Loureiro and Treixadura, which are native to the region.
In addition to minimizing chemical intervention, Peláez told Decanter, “Our grandparents historically used coffee as a fertilizer in our gardens, so we’re working to bring a bit of the past into the present and see if we can improve upon it for the benefit of our vines.”