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The Way We Grow


"When we're gone, our land should be better off for our having been there."

A healthy, balanced vineyard will produce superior fruit. Thoughtful farming is how we achieve this. It requires an intimate understanding of our vineyards- along with some common sense- and is based upon our view of the vineyard as a living system of interconnected parts; what we do with one part- the soil, the vines- has an effect on the others. Balancing the variables in the vineyard by encouraging biodiversity and healthy soil helps prevent undesireables like pest outbreaks and vine disease. Avoiding vineyard "sterility" by leaving heavier ground cover, bushy areas, and encouraging wildlife corridors for beneficial birds and insects contributes to this. Natural processes then do some of the work for us, so we can minimize our use of tractors, sprays and fertilizers. We have learned over decades of farming that the more we interfere in the system,the greater the likelihood that this balance will be disrupted.

Thoughtful farming is also shaped by the view that our land will take care of us as long as we take care of it. Our vineyards are where we make a living, and they are also where we live- along with many other plants and critters. We are always mindful of this, and follow a "work around it" policy where areas with nests or other dwellings are flagged and left alone. Responsible stewardship of our land is vital to our well-being and the well-being of the other living things that make their homes there.

A variety of conscientious farming practices- along with countless non-invasive "tricks" that we have picked up over the years- help us to maintain a healthy vineyard environment. Some include

  • Heavier ground cover- a mixture of grasses and nitrogen fixing clovers- is left between rows to prevent erosion and builds organic matter.
  • Prunings, leaves, and grape skins/stems are left in or returned to the vineyard to decompose and build humus.
  • Antelope brush, milkweed and wild roses are encouraged as they are home to predatory wasps, butterflies and birds.
  • Wildlife corridors of native plants and trees that house beneficial insects and bird life are maintained.
  • 75% of our vineyards are drip irrigated, which reduces water consumption and loss through evaporation. Conversion of the remaining 25% is in progress.
  • Sprays of any kind (organic or synthetic) are kept to an absolute minimum through diligent canopy management. Insecticides have not been used for over a decade in our vineyards.
  • We follow a "work around it" policy, where any nests or dwellings in the vineyard are flagged and those areas are then left alone (unmowed, unsprayed).
  • Both the Home Vineyard and the Maggie May Vineyard border sensitive stands of cottonwood riparian habitat- among the last remaining. It is home to several threatened species that we see in the vineyard on a regular basis, including Spadefoot toads, painted turtles, and tiger salamanders. Sizeable buffer zones are kept between the vineyards and these areas.