Shafer Vineyards - Sustainable Agriculture
Vineyards begins growing grapes.
to a drip irrigation system. Goal: To use water resources with
Switched from using overhead water sprinklers to wind machines
for frost protection. Goal: To save the tremendous amount of
water required to utilize sprinkler system.
Embarked on new vineyard techniques of leaf removal and water
deficient farming. Goal: The initial purpose was to improve
fruit quality, but a byproduct was a greatly lessened reliance
on fungicides to control molds and mildews.
using cover crops such as barley, oats and a variety of
vetch.These legumes enrich the soil with nitrogen when they are
plowed under and create an active biosystem for insects. Goal:
To reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and to begin to
create an ecosystem within the vineyard. Such a system creates a
habitat in which vine pests (insects) are held in check by their
natural predators, thus completely eliminating the need for
1991 - 1992
Because the cover crops began to attract gophers to the
vineyards, Shafer began a program of installing hawk perches and
owl boxes to attract the natural predators of gophers. Goal:
To use natural means of rodent control (as opposed to chemicals)
and further encourage a habitat within the vineyards.
1991 When we
dug our wine cave, we discovered a water source of 10 gallons a
minute, which we piped to our irrigation pond. Goal: To conserve
crews began to use hand-held sickles to cut down weeds on
hillside vineyards. Goal: To dramatically reduce reliance on
chemical weed killers.
1994 - 1995
Installed a process waste water system and began to recycle the
water used in our cellar (5,000 - 8,000 gallons per week) by
piping it to the irrigation pond.
using compost instead of synthetic fertilizer. Goal: To further
reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers. Today we rely 100
percent on compost.
using an in-row mower, a device dragged behind a tractor in flat
vineyards, for weed control. Goal: To further reduce reliance on
chemical weed killers.
designing and building bat boxes to attract bats to our
vineyards. Goal: Bats are nighttime insect predators. But more
importantly, bats are an indication of the health of a habitat.
If bats thrive, then they provide evidence of a healthy
2003 Erected a
dozen songbird houses throughout our vineyards. Goal: to provide
homes for cavity-dwelling species such as swallows and
bluebirds, that tend to eat the flying bugs that blight our
2004 Built a
784-panel solar array and converted to 100 percent solar power.
Goal: to generate clean kilowatts that would lessen the need
for energy produced by burning fossil fuels, meaning cleaner air
and a healthier climate.