Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Au Natural: Going Wild at Martin Estate Vineyard

At first glance, Martin Estate's eight acre Puerta Dorada Vineyard appears to be lacking good house keeping this summer. The truth is, while we’ve taken our weed eaters to the perimeter of our 12-acre property, the vineyard itself still has a wild and unruly cover crop of what only looks like weeds growing vigorously between every other row. What appears to be neglect, however, is our natural approach to managing the unseasonably late rainfall this year. These grasses and grains are working hard to wick excess moisture out of the ground.

“This semi-permanent cover crop also creates competition with the vines, which reduces the vigor, keeping our quantity down but our quality high,” Martin Estate Winemaker Frederic Delivert says.

“Once we feel the soil has dried out to just the perfect point,” Martin Estate Proprietor Petra Martin says, “our Carraro tractor will finally make its way through the rows to make everything look tickety-boo.”

In the meantime, we welcome the weeds as a working cog in the Martin Estate Vineyard Management Team.

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