The Road to Organics
After three solid years of transition I take great pleasure announcing that Escarpment’s vineyards are now BioGro certified. This includes our single vineyard blocks Kiwa, Te Rehua and Kupe.
When Larry McKenna approached Vine Managers Ltd about managing the Escarpment vineyard and taking it through to organic certification I jumped at the chance. It has been one of my goals to look after the land we farm, whilst trying to improve fruit quality and soil health.
When I first started at Escarpment we identified ten rows in the vineyard for an under vine weed control trial, I was confident we could run the pest and disease control program organically but wanted to find a solution for dealing with the weeds under vine. In a region where soils and climate are devigorating weed control is critical to ensure the vines develop enough leaf area to fully ripen the fruit. After looking at several options we decided on using an under vine weeder, a French made Boisselet machine that mounds up the soil under vine then undercuts the weeds once they start to grow. To combat the quicker breakdown of soil organic matter due to this cultivation we have been inter-row cropping to ensure we are adding nutrients and organic matter back to the soil. We also make and add high quality compost made from the skins after fermentation, nothing is wasted.
The vineyard team at Escarpment has been crucial to Escarpment becoming Bio Gro certified without their dedication to the vineyard and the health of the land, certification would have continued to be a pipe dream. Larry tells me that, in his opinion, this is the most significant development for the Escarpment brand since its inception.
Here’s to healthier vineyards and better wines!