What does Sustainable mean anyway? Is it Organic?
While each owner of sustainable vineyards and/or winery will give you a different definition rooted in their own desires and focus for their particular enterprise, there are some basic truths to ALL definitions. Sustainability is about science and the application of best learned methods and practices to achieve a better, safer, cleaner, and more forward focused farm or winery. It is not organic, which is a legally codified method of farming putting emphasis on pesticides and fertilizer applications, rules and restrictions.
Broader based, sustainably farmed practices encompass many other aspects of pro-actively farming. Attention to ecological factors such as tree preservation on or around the land, cover crops to protect and enhance the soil, wildlife habitat and riparian area preservation are important. Proper soil management practices including nutrient management, soil erosion controls, understanding and managing soil characteristics for the best outcomes are all included in a sustainably run farm. Water management and conservation, irrigation monitoring and measuring, and understanding farm water quality to best use this ever more precious resource as wisely as possible are also part of a sustainable vineyard. Let’s not forget the management of those ever present pests that live to challenge the farmer! Weed, insect, pathogens, rodents are all a challenge for any farm. Sustainable management of these pests means using a range of methods for control, not just tossing a chemical at the problem. Owls, hawks and falcons are but one example of natural predators helping out the farm. Farmers who provide these wonderful birds with appropriate habitat get paid back for the hospitality in spades. Not only do they help keep the critters at bay, they are so fun to watch!
In a nut shell then; sustainable farming is a holistic approach to managing the land and what you are growing on it. LODI Rules Sustainable Winegrowing program is the road map and framework to implementing, monitoring and documenting the key and important factors of the farm. Sustainability on the micro level involves paying attention to all the details. On the macro level it means simply the earth will be here for generations to come, left in a better way than it was found. Quail Run Vineyards is dedicated to the journey of sustainability… it just makes sense.