1. Tell us about your experience in grape growing?
I have grown up on the family vineyard and started managing it 20 years ago.
2. What prompted you to want to be involved in the EcoVineyards project?
Over the years I have noticed a steady decline in soil health which in turn lowered the number of health thriving plants and insects in the midrow. Also, with increased plantings in the area there is a distinct lack of insect and animal corridors.
3. What do you hope to achieve from your involvement in the EcoVineyards project?
We hope to achieve an increase in beneficial insect and eventually an increase in soil and vine health. It would be nice to create a diverse environment that will benefit all areas of our farming practises.
4. Have you tried to increase biodiversity on your property before undertaking this project? If so, how?
Yes, we have spent many years trialling different cover crops and especially different combinations of plant species with limited success. With the area frequently experiencing floods and low annual rainfall it makes it hard to establish health consistent diverse midrows.
5. Why do you think it is so important for growers to try and build natural resilience on their property?
It would be nice to find a great balance for the future so we can leave the property and vineyard in a better and more sustainable place than where it has come from. I guess the more we learn about and try to improve sustainability and biodiversity the better it hopefully will be for the next generation.
6. Looking to the future, what do you see as a new ‘normal’ for grape growers on their properties?
I feel that there is a slow but certain push toward leaving a smaller footprint. So, with these types of initiatives the new norm will hopefully be a more sustainable growing future with less reliance on chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.