Lifestyle

The Fight Against Climate Change In The Vineyard Begins Beneath The Soil


It’s become clear that climate change will affect every aspect of Earth’s agriculture, but for grape growing its effects can be devastating and difficult to recover from. Every vintner I have spoken with, many of whom have been the subjects of interviews in this newsletter, are fearful of the consequences, though few have a grip on how quickly or how dire these effects will hit their terroir.

    Sustainability has become a requisite in the vineyards, but because the soil itself is being altered by climate change, there is a new focus on that aspect of viticulture. As a Burgundian winemaker who welcomes more sunshine and heat to that region of France told me he has no idea how, if the soil temperature rises by just a single degree, it might kill off the bacteria that help make Burgundy’s Pinot Noir unique.

     The battle is being waged now in the vineyards, so I interviewed CEO Marc Fleishhacker (below, right) and Marco Poggianella (below, left) of Resonant Technology, which is  using new natural fertilizers that can work at much lower dosages than the same material.  The objective of Resonant’s products is not to provide compounds directly to the plants, but to trigger a microbial response in the soil so that the plants can be more efficient at uptaking any source of nutrients, resulting in higher vigor but also in higher quality and quantity of production.

Describe in layman’s terms what Resonant Technology is.

 These products are natural fertilizers that can work at much lower dosage than the same material without the processing step. The objective of Resonant products is not to provide compounds directly to the plants, but to trigger a microbial response in the soil so that the plants can be more efficient at uptaking any source of nutrients, resulting in higher vigor, but also in higher quality and quantity of production.

Resonant Technology distributes powerful agricultural solutions that create tangible and immediate environmental benefits while at the same time greatly benefitting the farmer’s economics. With the use of Resonant Technology many crops and plants, including grape vines, are better able to adapt to climate change while also reducing the impact of agricultural activities on the environment and the climate. 

 

What are the effects currently of global warming conditions, such as water stress and heat stress, and violent weather events such as harsh frosts, heat spikes, and hailstorms?

When the traditional weather patterns are disrupted, it not only brings warmer summers with extreme heat spikes but potentially results in harsher periods in winter too, including unpredictable frosts. The usual precipitation patterns have also been altered: where a certain amount of rain used to fall throughout the season, rainfall is now concentrated in sparse, brief, yet powerful moments. In this context, poor soil will exacerbate the problem. In fact, the loss of organic matter in soils is directly linked to their capacity to retain water, with extreme rain events leading to the large mudslides we see all too frequently during the spring and summer.

 

Why is it necessary to reduce synthetic fertilizers for corn, soy, grains, wheat, potatoes, rice, etc. and methane emissions in livestock farms, and how does RT help that problem?

The transformation of nutrients, whether it’s in the soil or in the stomach of bovines, is enabled by several microbial processes that create simpler compounds that plants and animals can take advantage of.  Resonant products diminish or inhibit these microbial activities and transform these compounds into gases, such as nitrous oxide or methane, that are useless for plants and animals. We aim to reduce the synthetic fertilization by 30% in the first year of application, or to reduce the emissions of methane and carbon dioxide by 50% from ruminants.

 

Who founded the company? You say that Resonant Technology is privately held and owned by Poggianella and Fleishhacker “who are now in the process of vetting and selecting additional investors to fuel a global expansion.” But are you not now incorporated?

Marco Poggianella founded the company and has dedicated his career to the incubation, development and testing of dozens of solutions for different types of crops and animals, from vines to corn, and from cows to pigs. The technology was developed in Italy, where the first customer base was established. Resonant is now looking to scale the distribution of these solutions worldwide, to hire new people and to invest in marketing.

 

The prototypes were seven years ago. Has it been difficult to make the tech work?

The technology for which Resonant-SOP Inside was thought to be a solution for vines was already successfully tested in other crops. This arduous process was dedicated to studying numerous different soils in several climatic areas with different vine varieties to ensure that the products are robust enough to offer consistent results across the world, from Napa Valley to Tuscany and beyond.

 

Who were the initial investors? Were banks reluctant? How much was invested and how much more will you need?

The company never had external investors and has always been self-financed. We are now looking to attain a valuation that is proportionate to the efficacy and broadness of the solutions we perfected over the years.

 

What did Willi Stürz of Tramin Winery and Andrea Moser of the Kaltern Cellar do?

Willi Stürz of Tramin Winery and Andrea Moser of the Kaltern Cellar decided to apply Resonant-SOP Inside solutions to their vineyards to improve the plants resilience to climate events. The products are applied twice per season, in two critical phenological states, at bud break and at flowering. They are two of the finest premium wine makers in Italy and serve as fabulous testimonials to our success.

 

What is a “biome” and how does RT work?

Microbiome refers to all the families of microorganisms that live in a specific environment and are responsible for several crucial processes on which their ecosystems are based. RT-SOP Inside solutions are all created with the proprietary technology that enables them to orient these processes and make them more efficient, with economic benefits for the farmers.  

 

Do you believe that the wine industry is truly committed to the environment or are they using outdated methods to achieve results?

The wine industry has been defined as the “canary in the coal mine” of agriculture, because of the vines’ extreme sensitivity to the climatic conditions. The concept of terroir is strictly connected to the climate patterns, and their variations ultimately influence the quality of the final product. This is why viticulturists are very sensitive to these topics and are looking for actionable solutions to help their plants adapt to climate change. In the end, they are still running commercial operations, so they need to find a balance between profit and environmental protection. This is exactly the nexus where Resonant-SOP Inside solutions sit.

If the world as a whole does not forcefully commit itself to the environment, what will be the short- and long-term effects on vineyards and the wine industry?

A dramatic change in the average temperature or precipitation patterns is already influencing the productivity of the vines in many regions up to the point of potentially making it unsuitable to grow certain varieties.

These products are natural fertilizers that can work at much lower dosage than the same material without the processing step. The objective of Resonant products is not to provide compounds directly to the plants, but to trigger a microbial response in the soil so that the plants can be more efficient at uptaking any source of nutrients, resulting in higher vigor, but also in higher quality and quantity of production.



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