On the Vineyard
Seven Oxen Vineyard is farmed organically with minimal disturbance to natural ecological processes. We believe in the intelligence behind the natural order of the environment, and strive to promote ecological self-sufficiency in the vineyard.
Regular farming practices in the vineyard include planting a cover crop in late fall, and brewing compost tea to spray on the vines and distribute through the irrigation system a few times per year. Planting a cover crop leads to increased water retention in the soil, which allows us to minimize irrigation during these years of extreme drought. The cover crop is a mix of oat, wheat, and barley. As the plants grow in late winter and early spring, their roots break up compacted earth and allow water to penetrate further into the ground. The cover crop also increases the biomass and fertility of the soil and helps to prevent erosion.
Like a cover crop, compost tea can have a huge impact on the quality of soil, and therefore, on the health of vines. The tea improves plant nutrition by increasing nutrient retention in the soil and nutrient availability for the vine’s root system. The improved soil structure resulting from the use of compost tea also reduces water loss, cutting back on the demand for irrigation. We began spraying compost tea in the vineyard in winter of 2014, as soon as our vines dropped their leaves. Over the course of the following year we sprayed the microorganism rich brew once a month, and were able to avoid the use of any additional organic fertilizers or pesticides, including sulfur. By keeping synthetics and chemicals out of our vineyard, our vines produce fruit that fully expresses the rich, healthy soil of our unique property, which translates directly into the flavor of our minimally processed wines.
In the Winery
The key to great wine is great fruit, which is why we put so much time and energy into our vineyard management, and keep things simple in the winery.