19 September 2016

Organic cultivation at Lolol

We have chosen biodynamic cultivation for our vineyards at Hacienda Araucano as we believe that producing wines as naturally as possible is good for the environment, good for consumers and tastes better! We have noticed a marked increase in the aromatic profiles of our wines particularly Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
Our vineyards at Lolol serve as a organic pilot, the practices of which we then transfer to our other estates across the world. It is a good place to start as in Chile very little disease exists naturally. There is no fungal disease such as mildew (the bane of wine producers across the world). The biggest problem are red spider mites but we have found natural ways of controlling these! There is no phylloxera so the vines are "franc de pied", ungrafted having their original rootstock.
. To increase the organic matter of the soil we compost all the residues of our grapes (skins, seeds and stems) which are already organic. This is then applied directly to soil in the vineyards.
. To replace the use of chemical herbicides we use alternative practices;
- Growing sward of a mixture of grass and herbs which is eventually mulched into the soil to provide organic matter. It also gives a home to beneficial insects.
- Mechanical weed control by ploughing of the alternate rows.
- «Intercep» machinery for under-vine weed management.
- 50 sheep over-winter and graze the grass. Chickens and turkeys can also be seen in the vineyard.
. To replace the use of chemical insecticides we use « Intergrated Pest Management » and biological control ;
- At Lolol, one of the main pest problems are small Red Spider Mites. The best solution we have found naturally is applying a product based on hot local chilly!
- We encourage « beneficial insects » to make their home at Lolol by providing the right habitat. We have created a waterway through the property to encourage biodiversity
The effect of all of our «green » actions are notable, with increased wildlife on the estate including many wild flowers, swallows, small Chilean quails and hares in the vineyards. More useful to the vine is the increase in ladybirds (a natural predator to the plant eating insects) and bees which help to fertilise the vines.
. Plant, mineral and cow manure-based 'preparations' are used to help soil fertility and to combat fungal disease and insect attack. These are added to the compost or sprayed directly onto the vineyard.
. We work with the Astronomical Calender (lunar and cosmic movements) to check the correct timing for vineyard activities (planting, pruning and spreading compost) and also in the cellar (racking and bottling).
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