Conservation & Biodiversity
Right now, there are more than 200 million dollars in grant funding coming online to help California farmers and ranchers preserve their land, better water efficiency, and improve soil health. Renata Brillinger, Executive Director at California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), and her team are working to incentivize sustainable practices like composting, cover crops, and solar pumps at farms to help combat climate change. They promote four grant programs that help farmers and ranchers have a positive impact on the planet and their bottom line.
Numerous vineyards have utilized sheep and goats in their vineyard for grazing but most only during the winter. Kelly Mulville was on a mission to design a vineyard for year-round grazing to restore the ecosystem with livestock. Using the sheep will eliminate all suckering and tipping, dramatically reduce fertilization, decrease irrigation use, and lower labor costs. Listen in as Kelley explains the trial process for tips on how to set up your own vineyard for year-round grazing.
Every vineyard has a portion of the property that is non-productive, but are there ways to maximize the benefits of this land? Chamisal Vineyards found the answer to this question with a Miyawaki Mini-forest. With soil amendments and planting 400 to 500 native plants at a high density, this process enables the forest to establish three to four times as rapidly as it would in a natural setting. The established forest will not only proffer a habitat for local fauna but, also provide carbon sequestration.
In an era of declining resources, US-based vineyard consultant Kelly Mulville writes of his experience to develop viticulture methods that eliminate the need for mechanical or hand cultivation, mowing, tillage and suckering while simultaneously improving soil health sequestering carbon), increasing biodiversity and reducing irrigation needs.
Using sheep to graze vineyards has many benefits including lowering the carbon footprint, fewer tractor passes, and reduced herbicide use. Kelsey Brewer, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California at Davis has been researching how these living lawnmowers impact nutrient and energy flows in the eco system.
What, bury charcoal in the vineyard? Biochar is a specialized form of charcoal made from waste woody biomass at high temperature in the absence of oxygen. Doug Beck, Science Officer at Monterey Pacific in Monterey California, shares how biochar and compost amendments improve nutrient efficiency, improve water holding capacity, and positively impact yields.
Local Perinet Winemaker Antoni Sanchez-Ortiz notes how years of abandonment has lead nature reestablish its place among the vines, hazelnut, olives, and forest. To maintain this balance of nature and winemaking, the winery has established an ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) initiative.
The resource concentration hypothesis looks at how the advent of modern agriculture as monoculture created an environment where pests can grow faster because their resource, the crop, is more prevalent. Biodiversity is fundamental for pest management and Daniel Paredes, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California Davis, in the department of Wildlife Fish and Conservation Biology, is studying how sustaining natural habitat around vineyards can increase biodiversity.
David R. Montgomery defines regenerative agriculture as leaving the land better off and more fertile as a consequence of cultivation. In this research, he has defined three principals to build soil fertility; minimal disturbance, cover cropping, and growing a diversity of crops. David has studied the success of these principals in agricultural systems around the world, from subsistence farmers to large commodity crops in North America.
50-million-year-old reserves of humified organic matter are a substance called lignite. It is commonly known as brown or soft coal, a substance usually equated with energy production. Researchers at the Technical University of Dresden have found that this very old, carbon rich plant material has the same building blocks as humus – the organic matter reserves found in soil. Virginia Corless, Chief Growth Officer at Novihum Technologies, explains how reacting lignite with nitrogen has created a new soil amendment to improve nutrient retention, water storage, and the vitality of the microbiome.
A template for creating your own plan to better manage the natural resources in and around your vineyard.
Gregory V. Jones, Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education, at Linfield College in Oregon discusses climate structure and suitability for viticulture, how climate variability and change influence grapevine growth, wine production and quality, why we plant only a few hundred of the of the more than 24,000 varieties, how warm climate winegrowing regions have hedged against climate risk by growing multiple varieties, factors beyond fossil fuels that affect climate change, and our biggest challenges ahead.
Mark Browning, owner, Barn Owl Box Company and Head Researcher, Barn Owl/Rodent Project discusses barn owls and their role on the farm.
Factors contributing to nitrous oxide emissions from vineyards.
Raymond Baltar, Director, Sonoma Biochar Initiative explains how to execute a conservation burn and make biochar to reduce smoke and capture carbon.
Mark Chien shares highlights from his career helping grapegrowers in some of the most difficult growing regions in the world. From his years as a vineyard manager to Penn State viticulture extension agent, and now Program Coordinator for the Oregon Wine Research Institute.
Production methods for making high-quality compost and sequestering greenhouse gasses in the soil from two professors at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California.
Kris Beal, M.S., Executive Director of Vineyard Team, recounts some of the history of the organization, it’s current activities and what the future holds in store.
Jean-Pierre Wolff, Owner & Vintner of Wolff Vineyards, talks about how restoring the creeks around his vineyard created steelhead trout habitat and prevented losing his land to erosion.
In winegrowing regions with insufficient rainfall, the importance of a well-functioning irrigation system cannot be overstated. Here are some of the most common problems found with drip irrigation systems in vineyards and some practical solutions.
Recommendations for control of stinkwort.
Description of the weed stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens), its rapid spread through California, and its life cycle.
Two articles on the spread, biology, and control of stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens).
Ashley Poupart explores why sustain practices are important to the wine and winegrape industries followed by an overview and comparison of the major sustainability certifications available to vineyards.
Vineyard Manger Lucas Pope describes how he farms 281 acres of winegrapes situated on a 2,000+ ranch of undisturbed oak woodland where he and his team regularly come across deer, coyotes, mountain lion, and rattlesnakes.
Check out some favorite episodes Here are ten episodes of the Sustainable Winegrowing podcast you don’t want to miss.
Bart Haycraft, Vineyard Manager, Jackson Family Wines- Los Alamos describes some of the techniques he uses in his vineyards for managing vineyard pests.
This chart shows the relative impacts on beneficial insects of 36 common insecticides.
Growing grapes in Michigan is fraught with challenges, from sub-zero temperatures in the winter to high humidity in the summer. Chantal Lefevbre of WaterFire Vineyards talks about how she manages her vineyards in a sustainable way despite these challenges.
Peter Work - Owner, Winemaker, and Vineyard Manager of Ampelos Cellars - recounts how becoming a certified organic vineyard led to becoming Demeter® biodynamic certified and eventually Sip Certified®.
Lino Bozzano, Vice President of Vineyard Operation at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, describes how he uses goats and sheep to protect and improve the estate.
Contacts, definitions, and processes for disposing of pesticides (hazardous waste in San Luis Obispo County.
The annual meeting of the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists took place November 29 to December 1 at the Visalia Marriott at the Convention Center in Visalia, California. Here are some highlights.
The Conservation Burn Technique creates less smoke than a traditional burn and can create biochar.
Stacie Clary, Communications Manager for Western SARE discusses the program and some of its many successes from funding grower-lead projects to find sustainable solutions to agricultural problems.
A scientific study of prey consumption by nesting barn owls over a three year period.
A fact sheet about cover crops and tillage.
Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Greg Gonzalez, Director of Vineyard Operations at Scheid Vineyards, discusses the ins and outs of sustainability practices.
Although symptoms of the disease aren't apparent until late in the season, the vectors are on the move.
A conservation plan is a living document a landowner creates to help them manage the resource conservation issues on their property.
Conservationists Margy Lindquist with NRCS and Devon Best with RCD discuss the importance of and the process of creating a conservation plan.
Find out how NRCS can help you conserve the resources on your property.
Barn owls play an important role in both the ecosystem and in Integrated Pest Management.