Farming Sustainably

by St. Supery on August 4, 2010

With over 470 acres planted at the Dollarhide Ranch and thirty-five acres planted in Rutherford, St. Supery is a major land owner in the Napa Valley. All of this land allows for almost every wine made by St. Supery to be estate bottled (which means created by St. Supery from start to finish, no purchased fruit or other outside influences). This allows St. Supery to have complete control over just how the grapes are grown. Without these vineyards St. Supery would be relegated to purchasing fruit from outside sources, decreasing the overall control over its wines’ quality. Because St. Supery relies so heavily on these valuable Napa Valley properties, it is no wonder we strive so diligently to keep the land pristine. In order to keep land as healthy as the day it was planted, sustainable practices are used whenever possible.

St. Supery also has begun creating its own compost for the vineyard from a byproduct of the winemaking process. Pomace, basically the seeds, skin and stems left over after the grapes are pressed, is trucked back to Dollarhide. There it is composted over the next few months and is eventually returned to the vineyard soil as a viable fertilizer and organic matter booster.

There are also vast arrays of animals which can be considered part of the Dollarhide family. Everything from ducks and geese, to egrets and a bald eagle can be found frequenting one of the seven lakes on the property. Our rattlesnake population (which the area is known for) helps keep the burrowing pest population from munching on the vine roots. It is not uncommon to see mountain lion or bear prints after a rain. Likewise to see a bobcat running through the vineyard with a jackrabbit in its mouth can be common late at night or in the early morning. The deer, while a nuisance during the start of the growing season (as they nibble at the newly forming shoots), are plentiful during the early spring. Skunks, opossums, and raccoons can be seen running under the moonlight, while during the wetter months; a pair of river otters often venture from Maxwell Creek into some of the lakes in search of a quick bass dinner. All of these creatures cohabit at Dollarhide and rely on each other for survival. If we tried to rid the vineyard of any particular species, other species would be affected as well, soon creating an antiseptic environment with an uneven ecosystem in which to grow balanced vines. Instead, we view the entire property as a living, breathing organism.

Check out the video of our Dollarhide vineyard made by First Press Productions!

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