It’s not just about being organic but about being sustainable for us at Natalie’s Estate Winery. It’s one thing to clear a piece of ground, plant a vineyard, and farm it organically. We believe that you also – need bio-diversity on your land, to truly have everything in balance, in addition to farming with only organic materials. It’s like the old saying; “You need good bugs so they can eat the bad bugs.” We do this by having a 50/50 plan. For every acre planted to vineyards, we set aside one acre for a natural habitat. This preserves the habitat for the animals, plants, and insects to live.
In our area, that natural habitat consists of an Oak Savannah and Fir forest, which thrived years ago in the Willamette Valley. This forest is nestled along a small mountain stream that flows into the Willamette River. This environment allows for a diverse eco-system which provides the perfect surroundings for farming the land in a sustainable manner.
In the vineyard we focus on an organic spray program to address fungal diseases that are common throughout the growing season. We also plant a cover-crop between the vineyard rows of peas and oats. It grows in the spring and adds nutrients back into the soil when we mow and till this organic material.
Over the years our biggest challenge with wildlife has been the deer encroachment in the vineyard. They love the green leaves during bud- break in the spring. Obviously, this isn’t helpful to producing a healthy vineyard. To address this issue we have installed a 6 ft. high fence around the vineyard to protect the vines from the deer. They can still access the area around the vineyard.
We want to provide a snap- shot of what sustainable farming means to us here at Natalie’s Estate Winery. To read more about our sustainable practices, visit our Sustainability page.