We have recently changed our vineyard and farming practices from being classified Organic to Biologic. I have often been questioned about the practicalities and profitability of organic farming and the reasons why we have decided to change from a pure organic approach to biologic, really addresses those questions.
We are passionate about sustainability and as part of our sustainable focus, we implemented organic farming practices and have been certified as such. After six years of dedicated organic farming we did realise, however, that we were depleting our soils and that we would not be able to farm in a way that is sustainable and economically viable if we continue to do that.
Nutrients from the soil and vines are used in order to ensure top quality grapes and optimal yields. These nutrients have to be replenished. The nutrient sources certified for organic farming were, however, not sufficient to ensure a satisfactory level of nutrients and resulted in a general imbalance – meaning that this way of farming was not sustainable anymore.
It has been very important to us to find a solution that will align with our passion for sustainability and conservation while also supporting our commercial farming enterprise.
We found the answer in a biological approach. Not yet certified by an acknowledged body, biological farming for us means that we are able to better the yield and quality of our grapes while enhancing the biological life of the soil and limiting the impact on the environment.
The goal is to efficiently manage the available nutrients in order to provide for optimal growth and top quality grapes while limiting the leach of these nutrients. We realised that the maintenance of soil fertility (a combination of anorganic and organic substances that includes biological life) is very important for the sustainable use of soil.
I also find that the concepts of Biologic and Biodynamic are often confused.
While we see biologic farming as a practice that allows us to introduce more than only organically certified nutrients to the soils in order to farm sustainably, biodynamic is quite something different.
Biodynamic agriculture has organic practices at its core, but also takes into account the natural weather cycles, soil health, integrated pest management and even the phases of the moon. I found the a good explanation on the blog of Avondale’s Jonathan Grieve, Biodynamic farming and the energy of the place.