Vines, like people, display their needs. Sometimes in obvious and concerning ways, and other times in subtle, peculiar ways. It takes the experienced and discerning eye of the caregiver to take notice and make adjustments. For the vigneron, there’s no substitute for time in the vineyard. If we don't stop to look and listen, we could potentially miss out on producing the best wines possible. It all starts in the vineyard.
The collective goal of winegrowers should be to improve the quality of our grapes and the way we farm for the sake of our wines and the planet we all inhabit.
Organics are important. Farming with as few inputs as possible ought to be our strategy. That’s why I use organic materials and principles as often as possible. But I’ve learned that there are also times when synthetic materials are less invasive and more effective.
It’s our feeling at Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard that we ought to encourage the research and development of new materials, and resist the temptation to outright reject them.
Wine growers, including myself at times, fail to zoom out and look at the big picture – where we learn that rotation of spray material and timing are just as important as the materials used. Cover crops and nutrient management plans encourage healthier vines with stronger immune systems that demand fewer inputs.
So I’ve learned that it’s wise to listen, observe, learn and share.
I am certain of one thing: I will do things a bit differently – and hopefully better – every passing year because I’m always listening and learning. If I come across a new, interesting idea, I’ll thoroughly research it. And I may even try it.
We believe that our wines will no doubt improve as a result of continuous learning and future generations will thank us.
-Drew Baker, Vigneron