Sustainability – Regenerative Farming – No Herbicides – No Pesticides – Organic Cultural Practices – Sheep for Grass Control – Low Carbon Outputs
Since planting more than 20 years ago, our approach has always been one of low intervention, both in the vineyard and in the winery. In recent years we closely monitored soil biology and chemistry and identified nutrients and microbes that maybe low or lacking. In the last 5 years we have been working to correct this through applying compost teas, which boost the microbial biodiversity and population of beneficial bacteria, fungi and protozoa in the vineyard soil. We also applied humates (prehistoric decomposed plant and animal matter) which is packed full of minerals and trace elements and is an organic product. Humates are now recognised as the single most important productive input in sustainable agriculture. We also use fish emulsions and seaweed extract to lift the available nutrients to the vines.
In addition to this we have done extensive irrigation and drainage improvements throughout the vineyard to optimize the soils capacity to drain well. We also refenced our vineyard so we can run sheep for grass and weed control.
Applying nutrients is well understood but what is less understood is the role the soil biology plays in making these nutrients readably available to the vines to utilize, this is where the compost teas come into their own, they enable the roots systems to access these nutrients more efficiently.
The results have been incredibly exciting, with noticeable improvements in the dirt, on the vine and in the bottle. This can be seen in the over all health of the canopy of the vines with excellent leaf health and general health of the canes. This is very important particularly towards the end of the growing season when the vine is in the process of ripening the berries. This needs to be as consistent as possible, with as few shocks to the vines as is preventable. Events like water stress, drought and hot windy conditions to name a few. If the vine is at optimum health it is much better equipped to handle difficult weather conditions. Which in turn gives you better quality fruit.
A quote from Dr Mary Cole, who has been helping direct the changes we have been making at Cannibal Creek! “The soil structure and biological activity in the vineyard was much improved… The difference in structure and moisture holding capacity was much improved. The biology showed the vineyard soils to be … discouraging the fast growing Capeweed.” Dr Mary Cole Agpath
Currently all Cannibal Creek Vineyards Wines are:
Red wines are *“Natural” in the sense they’re vegan friendly with no additions other than low doses of Sulphur Dioxide (which is in concentration of parts per million, Sulphur Dioxide is considered to be organic and even if not added it is a by product of the fermentation process) The grapes in the current vintages have not required additions although the wine maker may enlist either cultured yeast or indigenous yeast depending on the vintage itself.
White wines up until 2018 have had small addition of isinglass (fish protein) to help clarify the wines. We have found an alternative moving forward so the white wines will also be vegan friendly and *natural from 2019 onwards
*Natural as we understand it
Hope this helps to clarify what we do, believe in and aim for at Cannibal Creek Vineyard.
Cheers Pat & Kirsten Hardiker