1. Smart watering:
“In dry years like this one, we irrigate less frequently, but for a longer duration to wet the roots and not just the topsoil. This is done at night.”
2. Natural cover:
When pruning is done in the winter, the offcuts are placed right below the vines and clover is planted there too. This reduces root and soil temperatures, enabling the vines to withstand the Cape’s notorious heatwaves. When it rains, the prunings also act as a sponge, slowing down the flow of water and encouraging infiltration into the soil.
3. Between the vines:
We plant cover crops like oats mixed with vetch (a member of the pea family) between the vines. In September a tractor and roller flattens the crops, pushing nitrogen back into the soil and creating a dense carpet. Not only does this preserve the water in the soil more effectively but it also prevents weeds (which compete with the vines for water) from sprouting. This means that unlike many other farms, Spier doesn’t have to pull a weed-killing disc through the vines – a method that ends up breaking the soil’s “seal”, leading to greater water loss. Our ducks munch the slugs, keeping the vineyards pest-free naturally.
4. Taking root:
Sometimes we plant radishes between the vines. After the rolling, the radish dies and disintegrates, leaving behind holes in the soil which allow more water infiltration and oxygen.
5. Sharing is caring:
Spier’s innovative and eco-friendly approach to saving water has been shared with other wine farms in the region. We believe that collaboration and knowledge sharing is essential to tackle the region- wide challenge of water scarcity.
DID YOU KNOW?
Spier’s eco-friendly treatment plant recycles 100% of Spier’s wastewater. The clean water is then used to irrigate the gardens and ground.