At Bigibila, we work with our environment to create wines that are as in tune with the world around us as they are with our tastes. We are part of an ecosystem and pride ourselves on co-existing peacefully with the land we are currently caretakers of.
In this post, we’re looking at the ways we are making products in collaboration with our environment.
How we make sustainable wines
All our wines are grown, picked, stored, bottled and cellared on site, with grapes travelling a maximum distance of 500 metres from the vineyard to winery. By doing everything in one place, we minimise the carbon footprint of our production, whilst also putting a bit of ourselves into every bottle, at every step of the journey.
The only organic matter that leaves our farm is our wine, and that’s only when it’s leaving with a happy customer!
Environmentally friendly grape picking & vine pruning
At every stage of the winemaking process, we try to work with our environment. As much as is possible, we do everything by hand.
We handpick our grapes, which takes a little time but minimises damage to both the vines and the fruit. The grasses growing at the bottom of the vines are mulched to maintain them in a healthy way whilst keeping them out of our way.
Vines are also pruned by hand, before we go up and down the rows with a flail mower which mulches the cut canes and returns the organic matter back to the soil.
How we maintain a sustainable vineyard
In its nature, winemaking requires taking away from the land, but we go above and beyond to replenish it.
We spread large amounts of pig manure (10 cubic meters per hectare!) to fertilise the grapevines. In summer, the vines are fed with a liquid seaweed mix to maintain the vine’s vigour and nutrients.
At the end of fermentation and pressing, the grape “mark” (skins and pips left over) is mixed with manure and straw and composted, before being spread out into the soil beneath the vines.
A mixture of ground lime and gypsum is then spread in the vineyards to replenish any calcium and trace elements that have been consumed by the ground.
Goats and vineyards
We don’t just try and replenish the ground we grow our grapes in; we add to it to with the help of an unlikely colleague.
Grape stems are fed to our goats, which in turn fertilise our paddocks.
During winter the goats are free to range throughout the vineyards. Not only do they fertilise the vines during this time, they eat all the weeds and growth from the bottom of the vines. They also keep the grass down in the rows.
Whilst no goat goes into our actual wine, they are key in creating a healthy and balanced environment for our vines to flourish!
In short, we feed the soil, which feeds the vines and enriches our wines.
Our wine production methods return to nature in their focus on sustainability, but our fermentation and storage is at the cutting edge of innovation. More on that in our next post!