OUR FARMING PRACTICES

 

Organic and biodynamic.

We are part of an emerging region of amazing wine-making and our terroir-focused approach reflects our respect for the environment, our climate and our region. With that comes alliances with growers who share our philosophies and practices. “Wine is farming first, and we want to show how it can be done in our region – and done successfully – by using organics and environmentally-friendly processes.” John Paul Adamo

Pest control: We use organic, natural pest control sprays, such as horsetail or stinging nettle, grown on our own property, harvested and sprayed on the vines.
Weed control: Rather than using herbicide, we use a mechanical grape hoe for weed removal under the canopy, and we use the traditional “by hand” method for weeding.
Sprays: We ensure that our rates of spray follow the organic standards, rather than regular spray standards. Not only is this approach better environmentally, but organic sprays only coat the exterior. While this means that they wash off and don’t last as long, it also means that a more natural fermentation occurs by keeping some of the natural yeast, rather than you having to add it all externally.
Organic certified products: Our chicken fertilizer, cover crop and fermentation nutrients are ‘organic certified.’ Occasionally we do need to use a chemical product, but the products we use are certified organic.
Bird Abatement: Birds are a huge threat to our crop from August to October, when they are attracted to the sweet, ripened grapes. We have employed numerous methods to try and deter them, and we have had to increase our efforts as time passed and our crops grew.

In 2014, we installed Gintec netting, (side netting 1 metre coverage, 3 mm x 5 mm holes for bees not birds, UV stabilized, chemical resistance, tear and stretch resistant with reinforced edges), closing with a c-clip or catch wire clip.

In 2015, we had 4 acres of grapes in their first production. We purchased and installed a second type of bird netting (F3 Netting, knitted side netting, 1.5 metres coverage, monofilament yarn/lock stitch with reinforced edge and eyelets. 3 x 8 mm, 65 grams, UV treated and stretchy) and the Gintec nets, and we doubled the amount of C-clips to close both styles of nets more tightly. We also used decoy visual bird scarers (owls and balloon “eyes”). We lost 85% of our fruit to the birds with this harvest, despite all of our attempts to deter them.

In 2016, we had 6 acres of fruiting vines, and we used all of the above deterrents, as well as quadrupling the netting closers and minimizing any holes for the birds to enter through. We added scare tape (reflective tape), brought dogs in to chase away the birds and we added 2 bird scare cannons. With all of these measures in place, our crop loss was down to 11-12%.

Using bird cannons is common vineyard practice in Ontario and it is a legal means for farmers to try and save as much of their crops (and businesses) as possible. Despite those facts, bird bangers were never our first choice and we have stopped using them in the vineyard.

Here are just some of the techniques we will be employing for the upcoming 2017 season:

 

  • We will be planting sunflowers around the headlands, as well as installing bird feeders and houses to offer them food and a place for them outside the vines.
  • We will also be hilling the soil at the end posts and at the bottom of the netting to make it tighter and more difficult for them to get in.
  • We are investigating a number of alternative methods, as well, such as employing on-property falcons, and using drones as a deterrent, to more efficiently limit the birds’ access and to maintain a healthy crop.
  • We have ordered 2 experimental, solar powered, sonic bird units that cover approximately 4 acres and omit sounds of predatory birds to try and scare off the nuisance species attracted to our grapes. We will be deploying these in early spring and mid-summer to assess their performance and we will order more if they are effective.

We will be updating our website regularly to provide current information on our pest control and bird abatement practices.

VARIETALS

We focus on cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, making those our principal varietals, followed by: Riesling, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc and Vidal. Other varietals we carry include: Chardonnay Musque, Marechal Foch, Merlot and l’Acadie Blanc.

SEE MORE

OUR VINEYARDS

FRANK’S BLOCK

Acreage: 6.57 acres
Planting Dates: From 2010-2014
Varietals Planted: Vidal, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Frontenac Noir, l’Acadie Banc
Soil: Sand and Limestone

 BLOCK 2

Acreage: 3.11 acres
Planting Dates: From 2013-2015
Varietals Planted: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Marechal Foch
Soil: Loam and Clay

BLOCK 3

Acreage: 7.15 acres
Planting Dates: From 2014-2016
Varietals Planted: Chardonnay Musqué, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Merlot, Gamay Noir
Soil: Clay, Loam and Limestone

FUTURE BLOCK 4

Acreage: 0.8 acres
Planting Dates: From 2017
Varietals Planted: Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Sparkling Clones
Soil: Sand and Loam