Healthy vines and soils are essential to growing and making balanced, complex wines. At Bartholomew Park Winery, the estate vineyard is certified organically farmed by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 2005. Renowned organic viticulturist Phil Coturri has managed the vineyard at Bartholomew Park since 2003.
The fundamental goals of organic viticulture are to maintain healthy soils, eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers, and to promote a healthy diversity of beneficial predators, eliminating the use of pesticides and herbicides. At Bartholomew Park Winery, a diverse mix of cover crops is used to achieve these goals.
Each fall, the vine rows at Bartholomew Park Winery are sown with bell beans, peas, barley, oats and mustard. The cover crops are chosen by block based on the needs of the soil. Plants with shallow roots minimize erosion in the winter and successfully compete with weeds in the spring; deeper rooted crops are used in wet areas to break up the soil. The beans and peas fix nitrogen in the soil and attract beneficial insects with their blooms, cereal grains add biomass to the soil, and the mustard repels nematodes and helps combat soil compaction with their deep taproots.
During the spring, the cover crops at Bartholomew Park Winery often grow tall enough to completely hide the grapevines. Every other row is tilled back into the soils, leaving areas for the beneficial insects to live before the vines have grown, as well as to provide ground cover to aid in frost protection.
In summer, all weeds are removed by hand, all hedging and canopy management is done by hand, and strictly limited quantities of elemental sulfur are also used to ensure the optimal sun and air exposure, promote even ripening and prevent mildew and disease.
The organic farming practices at Bartholomew Park Winery vineyard not only promote a healthy environment but are essential to the development of intense, balanced flavors in our wines.