We stopped using Round-Up years ago.
Recently we noticed that there has been some press reports expressing the concerns of some people about the continued use of Round-Up in vineyards to remove weeds and that it is being used in some vineyards that note that they have been certified as sustainable.
There is nothing to worry about when you consume wines by JL WOOD. We make our wines with grapes that we grow in our owned-vineyards. We know everything that occurs in our vineyard blocks.
We made our decision after it was clear that there was a divergence of opinion by experts about Round-Up. We’re not experts but the differences of opinion were alarming, especially as human health was involved.
Round-Up allows the wine grape farmer to easily and cheaply clear the vineyard rows of weeds. The main driver of this is “appearance” and to a lesser degree to reduce the competition for water and nutrients.
Part of the grower’s challenges are the expectations of buyers of fresh wine grapes. Many buyers, known as grower relations personnel at bigger wineries, like to see very neat and orderly vineyards. To them, it is an indicator of good farming practice. And they give feedback to that effect.
In our case, we have been switching our vineyard blocks to permanent pasture grasses and legumes between rows, mixed along with a few wild-flowers for color. We have done this to enhance the water-holding ability of soil in the vine root-zone (which reduces our need for irrigation), naturally generate nutrients important to vine health, such as nitrogen, and to minimize loss of soil when the wind blows.
And like everyone else farming, we do get weeds, plants that we consider undesirable. For the most part, when necessary, we manually remove those weeds by manual hoeing by team-members. That is more expensive than a chemical application but we consider it part of the cost of producing quality wine.
Things are changing. Like other farmers, our tolerance to weeds is growing. We don’t believe that a few weeds in the rows, especially those that are natural to the region, reduces the ability of our vines to produce quality fruit.