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The Four Graces

Sustainable Farming

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Many of the same principles underlie both Sustainable and Biodynamic farming practices. Sustainable farming rests on the principle of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of natural resources is a primary consideration, meaning we must maintain or enhance this vital resource base for the long term.

Biodynamic and Sustainable Farming

The Four Graces has undertaken a groundbreaking experiment: a direct comparison of two similar but distinct farming practices that resulted in the creation of two remarkable wines in the process.

We've long been fascinated and inspired by the principles of sustainable growing – so we devised a way to test their results. In 2005 we chose two 20-acre sections in our Doe Ridge Estate, side by side and with nearly identical characteristics of soil, light, altitude and other environmental aspects. Then we farm them, starting with identical stocks, using two different sets of practices: The North Blocks are farmed following sustainable practices, and the South Blocks are farmed following biodynamic practices.

In 2008 we selected four barrels sourced from each section, and aged them in French Oak for 18 months. The results of our grand experiment were finally available, although only 900 bottles of each wine were produced.

And how did the wines turn out? Well, they're quite distinct from each other. Everything about these wines is the same, except for the farming practices – and that turns out to make a significant difference. We're allowing those who taste them tell us their perceptions of the wines and their differences. What are your impressions? Write and let us now at info@thefourgraces.com or post on http://facebook.com/thefourgraces.

We don't know of anyone implementing a similar comparison on this scale, and we're proud to be at the forefront of exploring different environmentally positive farming methods. As we continue our fascinating experiment, we're eager to track the differences in these two wines, vintage by vintage.

The Four Graces is conducting a ground breaking experiment comparing sustainable and biodynamic farming practices.The Four Graces is conducting a ground breaking experiment comparing sustainable and biodynamic farming practices.

A Quick Explanation of Sustainable Farming

Many of the same principles underlie both Sustainable and biodynamic farming practices. Sustainable farming rests on the principle of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of natural resources is a primary consideration, meaning we must maintain or enhance this vital resource base for the long term.

Here are some of the ways The Four Graces Practices Sustainable Farming

  • Set aside approximately 50 percent of acreage for wildlife habitat, to promote biodiversity
  • Use leaf removal and canopy management to reduce insect pests and disease pressure as well as enhance the character and balance in the grapes by improving sunlight and air penetration
  • Plant cover crops and add organic matter to naturally replenish the soil with nitrogen and increase diversity of flora and fauna while preventing erosion
  • Use a biodiesel fuel blend in farm equipment.

 Sustainable farming rests on the principle of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable farming rests on the principle of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

A Quick Explanation of Biodynamic Farming

Biodynamics was developed by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist-philosopher, in 1924. Biodynamics treats the vineyard as a living organism, using a combination of organic preparations and the earth's natural cycles to grow balanced, healthy vines.

Growing grapes following biodynamic farming principles means working to bring the grapevine and the soil into balance. This is done through environmentally sound farming, using natural preparations and timing work processes with the celestial rhythms of the earth.

While organic farming also uses compost for fertilization, biodynamic farming uses much smaller quantities of natural preparations to enliven the soil. These minute amounts of natural preparations introduce microbial life and nutrients into the soil, and that life reproduces throughout the vineyard.

Here Are Some of the Elements of Our Biodynamic Farming Practices

  • Prepare and apply nine biodynamic preparations made from herbs, mineral substances and animal manures to revitalize the soils and stimulate root growth
  • Refer to the astronomical calendar when planning activities such as pruning, cultivating, harvesting and spraying the preparations
  • Make our own compost from local organic cow manure and straw which is available to irrigate the vineyard. The Doe Ridge Vineyard is destined to produce excellent fruit.

Growing grapes following biodynamic farming principles means working to bring the grapevine and the soil into balance.Growing grapes following biodynamic farming principles means working to bring the grapevine and the soil into balance.