The soil thinks. It feels. And it is intelligent. It contains the consciousness of the earth! This isn’t just a philosophical approach to the most important resource of humans and animals. It can be observed in nature.
Over billions of years, beginning with simple plants (mosses) and then, finally, animals formed the soil through weathered minerals. Complex processes that tell of living and dying. Soil – the basis of all life.
In a handful of healthy soil, there are billions of inhabitants, plants (soil flora) and animals (soil fauna). They ensure that new soil is formed again and again and that nutrients are available for the plants.
As respect-BIODYN farmers, what do we do to ensure that this system is not disturbed and always continues? We feed the soil life!
Green manure – The soil must always be protected. This protection is provided by plants. Diverse green cover gives shade, attracts insects and offers protection for worms and beetles. And with mowing, mineralisation and humification is triggered. Through this, new soil is formed and nutrients are made available. Clovers (legumes) pull in nitrogen from the atmosphere. Also flax (linseed), buckwheat, crimson clover, marigold, cornflower and other plants provide a wonderful landscape that is attractive not only to insects.
Compost – comprised of organic material from the surrounding environment. Shrub and grass cuttings, and dung from horses, sheep and cows. Also grape pomace and stalks from the vineyard. This is our self-produced fertiliser. The material matures in compost heaps for six to nine months before it is spread over the soil in autumn. The happy worms pull the mature humus together with the fallen leaves and the rotting green manures into the deeper soil layers. In autumn and winter, when plants and animals are at rest, there is much happening below the surface. It‘s time for the soil to build up.
Compost tea – compost bacteria are needed to support soil building and restructuring. In a special compost tea barrel, the bacteria of the mature compost are multiplied with the help of sugar (molasses), oxygen, minerals and rock flour, and then sprayed onto the soil.This improves the compost processes in the soil.
Field spray preparation 500 – the biodynamic horn manure arranges and “guides” these processes. The horn manure preparation could be described as a kind of compost concentrate enriched with the consciousness of the earth and the emotions of the farmer. While the effect cannot be measured directly, it has been proven in countless field trials in agriculture. Clearly recognisable is the more balanced growth of the vines and the achievement of healthy, physiological ripeness of the grapes.
Pruning – The Winemaker’s Craft
A cold day in January. The vineyard is in hibernation. Nothing grows, nothing moves. Nothing? Well, that’s not true. Between the Winter solstice in December and the meterological beginning of Spring at the beginning of March, the vine is in absolute Winter dormancy – which is why these weeks are ideal for pruning.
Reserve materials. After the grapes have ripened and been harvested, the vine still has sufficient time to store nutrients into the old wood and its root system. This guarantees an adequate maturity of the wood. That takes time – and we give it. Our vines are therefore quiet in November and December. They store reserve materials in order to be prepared for a healthy and powerful start at the beginning of May.
Timing That’s why we begin cutting in January, after the Epiphany (Feast of the Three Kings) holiday. And we want to be finished by the beginning of March at the latest. The cutting back of the shoots is the most intense vine intervention and must be done very carefully; the vine is not able to close large wounds over with tissue (callus) like, for example, an apple tree does. Large wounds remain open and dry deep into the cane, which allows the entry of fungi and diseases.
Handwork We prune only by hand, cleanly and precisely, and only one- and two-year-old wood so that the wounds stay small and dry out quickly. In addition, we leave “respect wood” – some wood over the last eye (bud) so that the natural drying process doesn’t cause any damage. We try to give the cane shape and structure, and respect the natural flow of sap.
“Gentle Pruning” – is the name of this method, which was developed in Friuli by Marco Simonit and Piercarlo Sirch. The model was based on old training systems such as Stockkultur in Austria and Albarello and Gobelet in the Mediterranean region. The knowledge and art of the old winemakers have been applied; pruning is a craft once again.
Spur/ Cordon and Spur / Bow are the variants we use for our vine pruning. Depending on the variety and vineyard site, we make careful decisions in order to find the best training method for the vines. The intensity of the “cutting back” is actually decided by the vine, because each vine has its own growth mode and the pruner must be attunded to this in order not to overwhelm or underchallenge the vine.
And the vines thank us for this. They grow more evenly, remain healthier and more resilient, and thrive to become healthy old vines. They also are known for making the best wine.
Sightseeing flight through our vineyards
Video zur Verfügung gestellt von Wine Dron / Aitor Menchaca