Our first blog of the year, coming on the heels of the festive season and its inherent consumerism, reminds us why it's increasingly important to focus on the ground beneath us. A living soil makes a better wine, but the impact is much greater than that - a soil teeming with microbial life will act as a carbon sink, which helps to reduce carbon emissions.
The core philosophy of regenerative agriculture is about returning soils to a healthy state of "alive-ness", which seems a common-sense approach since we know that healthy, vibrant soils produce healthy grapes and better quality wines. So what has this to do with climate change?
It's widely known that the burning of fossil fuels since industrial times has led to a excessive build up of carbon dioxide, which is trapped within our atmosphere, which acts as an insulator, and produces a warming effect on our planet. This warming effect has many repercussions and is negatively impacting plant, insect, marine and animal life.
One of our weapons against climate change is underneath us, in our soils. Implementing agricultural practices that re-balance the microbial life in our soils has the beneficial effect of retaining carbon dioxide in the earth - in other words, carbon sinks into the soil rather than leaching into the atmosphere, which reduces harmful greenhouse gases. Plants photosynthesise by pulling carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, where it converts it into carbohydrates that are pushed into their root systems, feeding the millions of microbes that live in the soil. This carbon is stored indefinitely, as long as we don't till or dig up the soil. Planting cover crops in viticulture plays a role in promoting soil health. By planting complementary native plants and herbs in between our vine rows, we encourage the multiplication of healthy microbes and bacteria.
Biodiversity in the vineyards is critical, so we've introduced sheep into our vineyards severalmonths a year, and they keep any excessive growth of grasses under control. The manure acts as a natural fertiliser too. As well as avoiding harsh chemicals in our vineyards, we've implemented a no-tilling (turning of the soil) approach, which prevents any escape of stored CO2 from the soils and we supplement the natural sheep manure with green, natural compost to nourish our soils. All of these approaches are part of our HVE level 3 certification and our determination to do better every year in our efforts to minimise our impact on the planet.
Happy new year to all of our clients, customers and wine lover friends.