Strategies for adapting to climate change

Strategies for adapting to climate change

The DO Tarragona has initiated different lines of work in collaboration with INCAVI to reinforce the quality of the Macabeu variety. This is a variety with a high yield potential which, if excessive, can be detrimental to the quality of the must obtained and the wine produced. It is important, especially in varieties with this behaviour, to favour a balance between vegetative development and correct production.

Demonstration activity: Strategies for adapting to climate change. Variations in cultivation techniques and the wine produced in the DO Tarragona depending on altitude. The Macabeu variety.

Period of action: From 2020 to 2022.

Objectives of the Demonstrative Activity (DA):

An improvement in winegrowers' knowledge of the use and management of the Macabeu variety depending on the altitude of the plantation.

Technological approaches to the incorporation of vegetation management and yield, with the clear objective of maintaining and/or improving the quality of the wines, trying to ensure that technological maturity and phenolic maturity go together as far as possible.

Adapt vineyard management to climate change while maintaining optimum quality levels, preventing the effects of rising temperatures on the vineyard.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of vine cultivation in Catalonia by adapting the management of each vineyard.

Project plan:

It was a collaborative project between INCAVI, the winegrowers, wineries and the DO Tarragona.

Six Macabeo plots were selected in the DO area:

  1. Montferri - Vives Ambros: with an altitude of 206 metres above sea level.
  2. Rodonyà - Estol Verd: with an altitude of 325 metres above sea level.
  3. Vilabella - Viñedos del Tiet Pere: at an altitude of 195 metres above sea level.
  4. Constantí - Experimental winery Mas dels Frares. Faculty of Oenology - URV: at an altitude of 51m above sea level.
  5. L'Albiol - Mas Baiget: with an altitude of 448 metres above sea level.
  6. Ginestar - Suñer: with an altitude of 21 m above sea level.

The following actions were carried out on these plots: climate monitoring, vineyard monitoring, soil analysis, phenological monitoring, pruning weight, ripening monitoring, vinification of the plots under study, oenological monitoring, sensory characterisation of the wines obtained by the INCAVI and DO Tarragona tasting panel.


Specific data has been systematically and homogeneously compiled on the behaviour of the Macabeu vineyards and wines in the whole of the DO Tarragona, based on the selection of estates located at different altitudes in its territory.

The path been started to continue working to improve the quality of the wines on the basis of the results obtained from the DO itself.

For the moment, with the data obtained, it seems that the Macabeu variety is very well adapted to the whole DO territory, as both the physical-chemical and organoleptic composition show us balanced and quality wines.

The type and composition of the soil should be taken into account in vineyard management and, above all, in the design of the plantation.

According to the tendency found in this study, the plots planted at lower altitudes reach the optimum ripening point earlier than those at higher altitudes.

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