Other than the camera angle, can you spot the difference?
👈🏼The left side was the old way, only spring 2019. Remove competition from the vines through chemical or mechanical intervention so that all water, heat and nutrients only feed the grapes.
👉🏼The right side is the current way that we manage the vines and the soil and ecosystem in which they reside. Encouraging and feeding ground cover to keep the heat from drying our soils leads to less irrigation, especially as we are in a current drought. These “weeds” also capture some of the nutrients that may otherwise leech out of the soil. When we mulch and mow them, the green manure can break down and release those nutrients for the vines later on.
We have also noticed many pests that would normally hang around and wreak havoc in the canopy now have a home on the ground away from the cash crop.
The end goal is to grow enough green manure on our soils to create a closed system where we no longer need any inputs. There are plenty of different ideas and theories as to why this is a fantastic (or terrible) idea, but seeing the Organic Matter (OM) in our soils increase 1-2% in only 2 years is a HUGE deal! For every 1% of OM, the soil will store roughly 100013 Litres of water per acre!!!
Drought does not create bare soil; bare soil creates drought..
Brett Thiessen - Manager of Viticulture - Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery and Rust Wine Co.