01. What is Organic
Organic wines are produced by organic farming methods. While the standards differ worldwide, organic farming in general features cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed, although certain organically approved pesticides may be used under limited conditions. In general, organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives.
02. How do you manage your Organic Practises?
Our neighbours and fellow organic producers explain this best. Thanks Sam Statham.
1. “Feed the soil, not the plant”. The foundation is the soil’s organic matter, humus and biological activity. Grazing animals transform pasture into manure, to return to the soil and become humus – essential for good soil structure and plant health. Plants need water for photosynthesis and respiration, but when water soluble chemical fertilisers are used the plant is forced to take up the fertilisers dissolved in the water, resulting in vigorous but soft, sappy growth, susceptible to pests and disease. However, when humus and the soil ecosystem are well developed organically, the vine can drink clean water, or it can absorb nutrients, as required. Deep rooted, organic vines and trees are lean but healthy and balanced, expressing the typical characters of the season, region and variety.
2. “Weeds are nature’s workers”. Rather than eradicate any plants which may “compete” with the crops and pastures, the organic approach is to see “weeds” as the builders of organic matter – the matted grass roots provide fibre, the tap roots extract deep nutrients which become available to the vines after the weeds have died and broken down. Many plants seen as “weeds” are actually “fixers” of atmospheric nitrogen as free fertiliser, or harbour beneficial insects.
Of course, noxious and declared weeds have to be eliminated by hand
3. “Pests and diseases are the symptoms of other problems”. Fungal decomposition is part of the natural cycle in all ecosystems, and pests and disease can be seen a part of this. Rather than fighting disease with “systemic” fungicides which are absorbed into and translocated throughout the plant to kill invading diseases from the inside, the organic grower tries to avoid disease, (eg opening the canopy to air and light). Failing this, non-toxic, non-systemic products can be used, such as soap, milk, or sulfur, to help control the spread. Sanitation may help to break a disease cycle (eg burning infected canes in winter).
03. Why do you choose to be Organic?
Our ultimate desire is to live in a chemical free, sustainable environment producing wine that reflects where we live and what we believe in.
I made the decision when I started a family. Having worked in conventional viticulture I believe that the quality of fruit (and wines) can be as good, if not better on a well managed organic vineyrad. I choose not to expose my children to the synthetic and sometimes toxic chemicals that I have seen used in the more conventional wine growing regions around the world.
04. What is BIODYNAMIC?
This is organic farming science, developed by Rudolph Steiner, a scientist who looked open mindedly beyond physical matter and into the life forces which influence soil, plant, animal and human health. He took ancient experience such as lunar planting rhythms and built a complete system of agriculture which is low input and self reliant. A healthy, balanced “farm organism” is developed by working with these subtle influences using various homeopathic, biological and herbal preparations, all of which may be produced on the farm using herbs, manures and minerals. Biodynamic methods help produce improved shelf life, flavour and cell structure.
Biodynamics is often derided and attacked by the other, hard end of science. However it is important to observe impartially. After much research and investigation we found that the best looking plants and animals, and the best tasting wines, tended to be from the farms which employed the Biodynamic method.
Pig In The House has been biodynamically certified since 2000.
06. Can I come and visit the vineyard and winery?
Absolutely! We love having visitors and showing them around our little patch of the world. If you are a visitor from overseas and would be interested in some farm work we offer WWOOFA (Willing Workers On Organic Farms Australia) accommodation. Simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information