"A better environment gives you better wine."
We aim to manage our vineyards sustainability using a range of practices that are not only ecologically sound, but also economically viable and socially responsible.
All our viticultural practices nurture the biodiversity both within the soil microbiology that surrounds the vines and the insects and animals which are attracted to the healthy crops.
McHenry Hohnen's vineyards are managed using 100% biodynamic methods which are designed to improve the vitality and health of the soil.
Biodynamic is similar to organic farming in that both take place without chemicals, but biodynamic farming incorporates ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem, and also takes into account astrological influences and lunar cycles.
Over time, methods and preparations create deeper topsoil, increase root mass and depth, increase carbon capture and water holding capacity of soils - thereby improving plant health and dramatically improving the plant's resistance to pests and disease.
McHenry Hohnen's vineyard manager Mike Sleegers is an experienced advocate of biodynamic farming and believes its the only way to grow the best quality grapes.
Natural composts and manure teas are made onsite, no chemicals are used and in the main, lunar cycles are observed in administering the biodynamic regimes. As Mike says, "A better environment gives you better wine."
Biodynamics revolves around an environmental equilibrium. We select variety for our climate, vine vigor for our soil types, and match crop size to canopy. We constantly work toward achieving balance; the key component to producing quality wines which are distinctive and sustainable. Harmony in the vineyard ecosystem includes all the viticultural practices we utilise; pruning, shoot thinning, leaf pulling, crop thinning, and irrigation.
The more balanced our vines, the more sustainable we are.
Each year, we compost all our grape mark with cattle manure for a year, when we spread it on our vineyards after harvest to feed the soil which feeds our vines.
BETWEEN ROW CROPS
We use several between row crops, depending on our goals and the existing growth in each of our vineyard blocks. These include soil-building legume and grass mixes to encourage nitrogen and organic matter to keep the vines healthy, attract insects and control erosion.
Biodynamics uses an approach to pests and diseases that combines a wide array of farming practices by carefully monitoring pests and their natural predators to prevent crop damage. The overall goal is to reduce or eliminate pesticide use of both organic and synthetic chemicals.
Instead of using chemical sprays to control destructive insects, we use the natural predation method of introducing or encouraging beneficial insects to reduce their populations.
THE BIRDS & THE BEES
Biodynamic vineyards create the optimum living environment for native birds and bees, that help with insect and rodent control.