Regenerative winemaking: New and ancient practices to meet the challenges of climate change

Name of applicant

Sofie Isager Ahl




DKK 1,111,539



Type of grant

Internationalisation Fellowships


This project aims to explore how changes in the environment challenge regeneratively motivated winemakers, or so-called 'natural winemakers', in Southern France and Northern Italy to explore new and ancient practices to adapt their production to the increasingly extreme weather events, that we have seen across Europe in recent years. The study is particularly interested in how an engagement with other species – letting vines grow in trees, companion planting, or letting animals graze in the fields, increases the adaptability of their vineyards.


Climate change forces us to rethink our agricultural practices across Europe. In recent years many winemakers in the region have seen late frost, hail storms and droughts ruin their harvests. And while larger wine companies have the means to buy up land further North in an effort to secure themselves against current and future weather extremes, the smaller, independent winemakers do not have the option to flee from the problems. They have to adapt, and they have begun looking for new, creative solutions to mitigate the challenges they face. They have come at the forefront of creative agricultural solutions to the changing climate and have the ability to inspire others with their endeavors.


Through ethnographic fieldwork among natural winemakers in Northern Italy and Southern France, I seek to understand the details of the new practices they are engaged with, the challenges they face, and the stories they tell. And through archival studies, I want to provide a historical perspective to the often re-emerging practices, that the winemakers are engaging. Although the magnitude is unprecedented, it is not the first time in human history that a changing climate challenges us to reform, and the natural winemakers often find their inspiration in ancient practices and the transfer of knowledge from previous generations.

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