We are surrounded by vintners we admire, some do it the traditional way, others have gone organic. Our particular patch has had the traditional treatment and that we are changing, step by step. First, we stopped the herbicides and embarked on a very slow process of removing weeds manually every couple of weeks. There is another way: Some tool strapped to a tractor can cut through the roots of the weeds, thus ensuring that the roots of the vines can ‘breath easy’. If we can find someone who can do this for us, we might very well jump at that and hear our backs sigh with relief (see picture).
The next step involved the fertiliser: At some point it looked like we needed a detective to find some horse manure, but a few phonecalls and a burst tire later, we had a few tons of manure sitting on the edge of our vineyard. What looked like a lot turned out to be nothing at all, once we had distributed it round the vineyards. And I now know how mud-wrestlers feel.
The next step is about how the grapes are sprayed against illnesses. You can try and strengthen the vines with alge products, but some organic vintners this year found that the illnesses were even stronger. We will give it a go (using copper, baking powder, etc) and update this section.
Once that’s done, we’ll be a ‘conversion vineyard’ (“Umstellungsbetrieb), before we turn organic.