Let’s step back for a moment, and talk about the dynamics of a vineyard itself. Literally, from the ground up; soil is the most important component in a vineyard. Many want to be wine connoisseurs look at property development as far as landscape, accessibility, and price. One factor they often neglect is the quality of the soil. Most people take it for granted that soil in undeveloped areas is perfectly healthy. But that is not always the case. You will want to have someone from the Department of Agriculture come out and test your soil. Government agencies are a great source of services because they are unbiased and have no reason not to tell you the truth. Whereas a paid consultant, may color the results to receive your approval.
Another important aspect of soil analysis, is its water solubility. How well does it absorb water and how long does it retain that water. This will play an important factor when you are developing your irrigation system. Fine wine grapes require the proper amount of hydration so you want to make sure you set everything up perfectly. Once you know the soil is right for your purposes, you will want to develop an area for composting to keep your soil rich and nutritious for years to come.
Similar to the subject of soil management, is proper pesticide use. Most new farmers are quick to jump at the cheaper chemicals without doing the proper research to understand their impact to the soil and plants. Natural pesticides and techniques are more expensive, but the quality of your crop is of the upmost importance. You do not want to produce a wine that has toxins or chemical byproducts transferring into the bottle. Even trace amounts can diminish the taste and the integrity of your brand.
Support plants are critical to the overall health of your farm. While many new growers have a tendency to tear out anything that is not a grape plant, that is a mistake. You want to have areas of regular plant life growing all throughout your vineyard. First of all, it brings in a large number of insects that will help keep the soil healthy and nutrient rich. As well as bring in a number of insect predators who will keep the harmful bugs at bay. They will literally naturally kill off all of the harmful bugs that could come to your vines. They will be welcome guests at your home.
The next post we’ll talk more about construction variations that go into a vineyard. But I just wanted to touch on a subject that many new buyers overlook. The soil is first and foremost critical to the overall health of your organization. Many are dazzled by the scenery, and the promise of healthy plants, but surprisingly overlook the nature of the ground itself.