Water into bulk wine

Castilla La Mancha has restructured its viticulture to be more commercially competitive. But, says Barnaby Eales, this has come at a cost.

La Mancha/Photo by Estela Romero on Unsplash
La Mancha/Photo by Estela Romero on Unsplash

“We want to move to a radical change in model for wine,” said Francisco Martinez Arroyo, Castilla La Mancha’s (CLM) Minister of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development in May. The unprecedented announcement was partly a response to the impact of Covid-19 on exports, which has accelerated an underlying problem in the region: the widening gulf between the supply and demand of the region’s bulk wine, sold at low prices. 

But it also reflected the way climate change is affecting viticulture that requires an increasing amount of irrigation when water is scarce. 

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