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A glass of wine that helps our birds – what’s not to like?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents - BY MATT MER­RITT

Wine that helps our birds and Tur­tle Dove suc­cess, plus more

In sum­mer, per­haps your favourite re­ward for a hard day’s bird­watch­ing is an icecold beer, a re­fresh­ing gin and tonic, or just a long soft drink. But, at this time of year, there’s not much bet­ter than a glass of bold, full-flavoured red wine. You’d savour it all the more, though, if you knew that buy­ing it was go­ing to make a prac­ti­cal dif­fer­ence to bird con­ser­va­tion, wouldn’t you? That’s the idea be­hind Paso-prima 2017, a blend of Gar­nacha and Caber­net­sauvi­gnon from the Span­ish Pyre­nees (pic­tured right) Wine­mak­ers Tom and Emma Holt, orig­i­nally from Shrews­bury, cre­ated their Pa­so­prima se­ries of wines with the in­ten­tion of of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety not found in main­stream wines. Tom said: “So many big brands ig­nore the vari­able flavours found in dif­fer­ent vin­tages in an ef­fort to cre­ate a con­sis­tent prod­uct, but to me this misses one of the most ex­cit­ing fac­tors in­flu­enc­ing wine. “The con­di­tions our grapes grow in change ev­ery year so in­stead of hid­ing from the dif­fer­ences we wanted to high­light and cel­e­brate them. That’s why each Paso-prima is unique; it could only be made in that spe­cific year.” So far, so good. But what does it taste like? Purely in the in­ter­ests of re­search and jour­nal­is­tic truth, you un­der­stand, my wife and I sam­pled the Paso-prima 2017, and can re­port that it is in­deed, as Tom claims, burst­ing with bram­ble fruit, dark cherry and black­cur­rant flavours. It’s ut­terly dis­tinc­tive and very en­joy­able. But we en­joyed it all the more know­ing that 25% of the prof­its from it are go­ing to the Bri­tish Trust for Or­nithol­ogy (BTO), and be­cause Tom and Emma use corks rather than screw­tops in a bid to sup­port vi­tal habi­tat in Spain. Emma said: “We wanted to high­light the es­sen­tial role that cork forests play in lo­cal and global bio­di­ver­sity. “Many long-dis­tance mi­grants, like Nightin­gale, Pied Fly­catcher, Spotted Fly­catcher and Red­start are show­ing large de­clines, and they rely on the cork forests and the in­sects that live in them to fuel their on­wards flights. “They also pro­vide breed­ing grounds for some of the most en­dan­gered species of bird on the planet, and are home to some of our com­pany’s mas­cots: the Wren.” So, a wine that sup­ports bird con­ser­va­tion on two fronts – we can all drink to that, can’t we?

Paso-prima 2017 is avail­able from Tanners Wine Mer­chants or di­rect from paso-primero.com

Tra­di­tional vine­yards of­fer good habi­tat for some species

The vine­yard is in the foothills of the Pyre­nees

Paso-prima 2017 – burst­ing with flavour

Above: Wine­mak­ers Tom and Emma Holt and fam­ily

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