Viticultural Practices: Big & Small
Excerpt from our Summer Newsletter.
– Viticultural Practices Big & Small –
Since our founding, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard has approached the health of our vineyards as the most vital component of winemaking. Hermann is often quoted as saying “we are going to drink these wines too.” Meaning first and foremost, that our farming practices better be up to our own standards! We not only feel a global responsibility to farm sustainably, but on a more personal level, this is where we work and live- and where our children live. A commitment to responsible farming is a commitment to the next generation as well, not to mention the fact that- Hey!- we are going to drink these wines too!
Through the years this approach has led to a focused ecological engagement where we consider the larger needs of our surroundings as well as the specific needs of each vineyard, lot, and even individual vines. We adhere to unique farming methods that focus not solely on our vineyards but on the totality of our farm, promoting biodiversity in adjacent fields, forests, and meadows, while utilizing cover crops, beneficials, and homeopathic teas and preparations. These practices encourage stronger, more resilient vineyards, and in turn better wines.
In 2003, we eliminated the use of all herbicides and synthetic inputs, and instead incorporate cover crops and organic fertilizers. Our next step in sustainable farming is our project with biodynamics. In the Summer of 2014, Thijs Verschuuren, who had previously studied and worked in biodynamics in the Loire Valley of France, joined our team and a year later, spearheaded this farming project, committing 14 acres at our HJW property. This long term project will help us to understand both the effects and efficacy of biodynamic farming. We are currently working towards Demeter Certification for our HJW site, and will be releasing a site specific riesling, sourced from this block in the coming months.
This list of viticulture practices is partial, of course, and is constantly changing and adapting based on the obstacles that nature provides. However it does showcase a “zoom out” effect that we often consider here, beginning with an individual vine or bee, and zooming out to encompass the surrounding ecosystem and beyond. Another common theme that we refer to constantly is “health,” whether in reference to yeasts, soils, vines, or ecosystems, we work alongside nature to cultivate resilience in our vineyards. Our goal has been and will continue to be to expand these practices and create wines that reflect the intrinsic compatibility of vineyards and their surroundings.