Circular 9/2011. Plenary decision of 4 November 2011 on vineyard irrigation

Article 9 of Act 24/2003, of 10 July 2003, on the Vine and Wine indicates that the particular standards of each quality wine psr may establish the form and conditions under which irrigation is authorised in its production area, as well as the modes of application, focusing on the principle that these practices tend to maintain the balance of the growth potential of the plant with the climate-soil ecosystem, in order to obtain high quality products.

In turn, article 26 of the aforementioned Act 24/2003 entrusts the management body of the designation, among other functions, to establish for each growing season, according to criteria of defending and improving of quality, the authorisation of the form and conditions of irrigation.

On the other hand, the Regulations of the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja, Order APA/3465/2004, of 20 October 2004, in its article 6º.2. sets out the following:

“In general terms, growing practices must be aimed at optimising quality. In compliance with the provisions of articles 9 and 26.2.d) of Act 24/2003, irrigation will be regulated annually by the Control Board, with the power to authorise it to maintain the balance of the canopy potential of the plant with the climate-soil ecosystem, in the modalities of drip, sprinkler or blanket irrigation, in order to guarantee a minimum water supply of not less than 600 litres per year, of which at least fifty per cent will be supplied between bud break and veraison, provided there is a deadline to carry out this practice, at least thirty days before the beginning of harvest and, except for exceptional circumstances, on 15 August of any year. All this has the purpose of contributing to achieving quality products and pointing out the practical conditions in which it can be carried out and the time when it should be carried out.”

In view of the above, the Control Board Plenary considered in its session of 4 November 2011 that the current ecological conditions justify the application of irrigation to maintain the balance between the growing potential of vines and the climate-soil ecosystem in order to obtain a quality product.

Therefore, after the end of harvest, the Control Board Plenary met in session on 4 November 2011 and decided to authorise vineyard irrigation pursuant to the provisions set out in article 6, section 2 of the Regulations of the DOCa Rioja Thus, irrigation was authorised subject to the Plenary’s determination of a date when this practice should conclude, in accordance with the report that the Technical Service will issue on rainfall and the state of the vineyards.

You are hereby notified for your knowledge and such effects as may obtain

The president,

Víctor Pascual Artacho

United Kingdom