Viticulture / Organic viticulture
The main connection of the vine with the environment happens through the soil. The living creatures in the soil convert nutrients so the vines can absorb them, protect the vine roots from diseases and pests and recycle organic matter. Living soil rich in organic matter has a better water retention that supports the growing of vines without irrigation. In order to preserve the natural flora, the soil life and the fungi that live in symbiotic connection with the vines, we do not plow or damage the soil texture, and of course we do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
The most important principle in organic agriculture is the preservation of biological diversity in and around the vineyard. A healthy environment allows wild plants, tiny soil creatures and large animals to thrive and remain in natural balance. This balance is expressed in the fact that when a particular pest occurs in the vineyard, the natural predators of that same pest will also appear and reduce its numbers. When used to treat pests, we use plant-based materials or natural minerals that are certified organic.
Wild flowers and weeds have many functions associated with preserving the soil and life in the vineyard. Prevention of soil erosion during winter and better permeation of rain. The roots of the weeds open and aerate the soil and encourage the growth of micro life and mycorrhiza. Vegetation attracts and serves as a hiding and proliferation place for natural predators. Flowers support bees and other pollinators. Wild grasses, especially grains, enrich the soil with nitrogen, which is necessary for healthy and vigorous growth.
The deep soil of Shfeya Valley and the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea enable the growing of mature vines without any irrigation, relying solely on winter rains. It takes a few years to adapt the young vines and lead them to deepen their roots. Planting the vines twice as densely as usual limit the horizontal space for roots and supports this process. Grapes harvested from dry-farmed vines are more concentrated in taste and color. The downside is a decrease in quantity - fewer clusters and smaller grapes.
Adding nutrients to the soil and improving water retention are done with compost that we produce from the grape pomace. Compost preparation begins at harvest season, mixing the pomace with straw and goat manure, and continues for several weeks, in which the piles must be turned and wet. The dispersion of the compost under the vines is performed during the winter season and allows the rains to sink it into the soil and bring it closer to the roots of the vines. In addition to nourishing and improving the soil texture, the use of compost enriches the organic matter in the soil and therefore supports the tiny life in it.