Stonecroft – Converting to Organics

Thanks to Stonecroft for content and imagery used in this

blog.Thanks to Stonecroft for content and imagery used in this blog.Thanks to Stonecroft for content and imagery used in this blog.

Choosing the organic route was the only one we considered when we first became involved in the wine industry and we haven't looked back since.

After taking over Stonecroft in 2010, the first thing we did was to start the conversion process to organic certification. We were delighted with our first certified organic wines from the 2013 vintage. We are passionate about improving the health of our vineyards and the quality of our wines and believe that organic viticulture and winemaking provides the best opportunity to achieve this. One of the real advantages is not having to handle or employ conventional pest control chemicals or herbicides and the obvious benefit this provides to our employees, our family and the environment.

Over time we noticed many positive changes in the vineyards. Artificial sources of nitrogen were replaced with organic compost and fish hydrolysate (a by-product of the fishing industry) as well as seaweed foliar sprays to provide micronutrients. Herbicide was replaced by mechanical weed control. We have had to improvise as we gained experience with weed control. We have had a few bespoke tools made up for the vineyards, which are on the exceptionally stony soils of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District.

As the vines became used to their new diet and the increased under-vine competition, the vine canopies naturally reduced in size as did the fruit yields. There were some unexpected positive consequences. Firstly, the need to carry out expensive pre harvest fruit thinning was reduced as the vines came into a natural balance. Then, we also we noticed a reduction in pest pressure as beneficial insects became more numerous throughout our vineyards. This was accompanied by an improvement in the quality of the fruit. The grape skins became thicker and there was a general increase in the robustness of the fruit. With the red varieties the thicker skins have delivered more colour and tannin in the wines.

Dermot McCollum (Winemaker and Owner)

Thanks to Stonecroft for content and imagery used in this blog.

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