Saturday, 21 May 2011
Sustainability in the Vineyard
I recently attended a very interesting Wineskills workshop on Sustainability in the Vineyard, facilitated by Professor Steve Wratten -a cockney living in New Zealand! Steve is a leading light in the Greening Waipara project in Lincoln, New Zealand, which aims to build biodiversity back into the wine experience.
Steve poses the question "How can nature help us with agriculture?" Agriculture, including viticulture, damages biodiversity and in New Zealand has caused major declines in their native plant and animal populations. He argues that the current high level of chemicals used in viticulture is unsustainable.
So what to do? At Waipara they are conserving their remaining undisturbed habitats and introducing additional biodiversity to enhance the services that nature can provide for free in the form of biological control of pests, pollination, improved soil quality, conservation and eco-tourism, to add value to vineyards and reduce reliance on herbicides and pesticides. Fifty North Canterbury vineyards have already signed up to the scheme.
For our part we are already organic so we don't use herbicides and pesticides. However we we will be looking at surveying our current wildlife, planting cover crops to improve biodiversity and creating a biodiversity trail around the vineyard. We also look forward to adopting any sustainability standards that emerge from the current initiatives being undertaken by the UKVA and Plumpton College.
For more details of the Waipara project: http://bioprotection.org.nz/greening-waipara