Biodynamics at Churton
We have a very special vineyard site. It has a wonderful North easterly aspect and sits high above and between the Omaka and Waihopai Valley at 200m above sea level. It is quite different to any other vineyard in Marlborough.
Our Philosophy is to make wine that respects the site and expresses the sites personality to its fullest potential. We make wines that are Vins de Terroir. This leads our approach to the vineyard management.
The basic principle is that we respect the site and our soils. The biodynamic philosophy helps us to look at the site as a whole and to manage the site in a rational way. This starts with the layout of the vineyard. The blocks are sized to fit the contour and make the most of each aspect. They are kept small so each block is easily managed and retains its feel and character.
We encourage biodiversity in the vineyard through companion planting as well as planting native trees for shelter and aesthetic reasons. The use of compost and the Biodynamic preparations are essential. Well prepared compost acts as a large bioreactor producing a vast number of beneficial soil micro-organisms. These are mainly fungi and bacteria. When the compost is spread in the vineyard not only is it providing a supply of nutrients but more importantly it is inoculating the soil with large numbers of soil organisms.
These are vital as they help transform micro nutrients and make them available to the vines.
The biodynamic preparations such as the preparation 500, 501 act in a similar way. The mode of production selects then multiplies beneficial organisms through providing certain growth conditions. These organisms are then spread throughout the vineyard as a further inoculum.
Another essential part of biodynamics is in making use of the natural growth cycles in the vineyard. This essentially is a way focusing on how the vines respond at different stages; relating what is happening with lunar phases and other astronomical observations we gain a lot of information about how the vines respond. This in turn helps our decision making about the timing of vineyard work. For example the germination of inter row planting occurs far better at certain times of a month than others. Shoot extension in the vines is related to a wet growing period, these days more often than not coincide with certain lunar and astronomical phases.
Unlike the purely organic movement biodynamics allows a far higher integration of the whole vineyard environment. The emphasis is not just on eliminating the use of chemical sprays and fertilisers; it is assisting to promote the site, its health and personality, and therefore the production of wines with individuality and a depth of quality.
Our winemaking is focussed exclusively on producing high quality Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir
that combines the renowned flavour of Marlborough and the complexity of fine European wines.