Well, we make wine!
In a nutshell, we work by hand using traditional methods with old vines trained in the classic goblet style. We only use organic treatments to protect our grapes from diseases. When we make wine we follow the principles of “natural wine”, using minimal amounts of sulfite, making wines with an absolute minimum of human intervention.
As a collective we can employ the permaculture principles in some quite creative ways to make our wine…
We try to recycle everything. We use our cut vine branches, leftovers from pressing and vinification, food-scraps, and brush-cuttings to make a natural fertiliser.
We’re currently experimenting with planting food crops between the vines.
We are aware that wine is the most planted food crop in Europe, and while we love wine, we are also aware that it’s not what most people consider a necessity. When mono-cultural vineyards totally dominate the landscape, then communities are not anywhere being self sufficient. This may have to change in the future……
We are experimenting with different combinations of cover crops to grow between the vines.
At the moment we are using subterranean clover, mustard, buckwheat, white clover, and vicia sativa, while also working with beneficial local plant species. If we can succeed with the buckwheat experiment, we will be able to make flour from the seeds, and even beer!
Bio-dynamic treatments are great!
While we are not bio-dynamic, and have no desire to be, we will be applying the bio-dynamic treatments this year to protect the plants, activate the soil, and increase root depth. This includes the use of stinging nettles and prele, but we also experiment with garlic, onions, thyme, and postassium bicarbonate as an alternative fungicide to copper.
We live in our vineyards.
They are spaces for life, barbecues, picnics – not just work. If you squat a vineyard, it is common sense to make your space chemical free!
We are replanting the root stocks which grow on our vineyards.
We plant them during winter and the following year they are ready to to be grafted, making new plants which can be harvested in three years.
We encourage biodiversity on all our vineyards.
We have different species of vine, rootstock, the cover-crops, local grasses – as well as a few weeds ;). The soils are alive and we hope to attract natural predators to deter the ravagers of the vines. This year we will be placing a little dab of honey on each plant to attract ants – the natural enemy to termites!
We limit the use of hydrocarbon energy, and employ human energy principally in the fabrication of our wines.
We work with our hands – steep terraces make it impossible for us to use tractors and heavy machinery. This is better for our vines and grapes, as we tend to each plant individually, removing secondary branches in spring, and sometimes leaves before harvest. Our wine is truly Artisinal in every aspect.
We promote edge in our vineyards.
The boundaries between the cover-crops and the vines, the vineyards and the forests, and the forests and our weed barriers increase the interactions, ultimately protecting the vines from disease through the development of biodiversity.