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Biodynamic Report 1 – Feb 2013

Readers of this blog will be aware that we are currently undertaking a trial on the Haskell Pillars vineyard to see if there are any discernable differences between the two viticultural approaches. The trial is in its infancy, but we will be providing regular reports about it’s implementation, with comments on any observable differences in quality.

The growing season has been a good one in general, low disease pressure meant that minimal spraying (only organic certified products) was executed.  Both sides of the trial ( western and eastern halves) were treated the same.

Strong winds in October 2012 were problematic for the Helderberg but due to the protected location of Pillars Vineyard, no damage was caused to the canopy or fruit set. There are no observable differences in vine performance at this stage.

A significant difference was noticed in the effectiveness of the cover crop that was introduced.  The organic side was planted with clover, producing a dense “carpet” that was very successful at  keeping out weeds.

The Biodynamic half was planted with Lupine. Although nitrogen is transferred into the soil, the effectiveness of this type of cover in keeping weeds at bay wasn’t particularly successful. The cover was subsequently worked into the soil in this section. Next season both halves will be planted with clover.

Vineyard is nearly at 100% veraison.  Fruit will be dropped according to vine strength and the same procedure will be applied in both organic and biodynamic halves

Next step in the vineyard management side will the introduction of our first Biodynamic compost to the western half of Pillars Vineyard after harvest.

At this stage grape quality looks to be very good to outstanding. Barring any weather issues moving forward, 2013 looks to be a vintage of note.