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Cape Jaffa Wines, Australia – Derek and Anna Hooper

February 2, 2012

Anna and Derek

Why do you do what you do?

We believe that managing our land in a sustainable way is our duty to our environment and to future generations. We also find that the vineyard characters are more expressive when outside intervention is kept minimal. So it’s about grape quality as well as cultural beliefs.

The Land

Why do you choose to do it the way you do?

We farm using biodynamic techniques. We choose to follow Steiner’s methods as he was a leader in sustainable farming, whose philosophies are fascinating. We also like to get involved in other projects aimed at increasing biodiversity in our region as this is another vital part of farming for the future.

Solar Panel Installation

What obstacles have you overcome?

Learning to live with weeds. We have learnt that efforts to control many weed species actually makes them stronger. Over time, the vineyard has found a natural mix of species under-vine, most of which have positive contributions – more than negative. Similarly, it’s taken some time to learn that low impact organic fungicides such as sulphur and copper do not need to be overused. Through minimizing their use we have achieved a natural control of fungal attack through better plant health and micro-flora.

Ducks

Are you happy with your work?

It can always be improved. Optimistic about the future – yes. We would like to see more consumers demanding earth friendly farming as this is ultimately the way to get producers on board.

Is it worth the effort?

For those thinking of going down this path, we recommend looking at organic or biodynamic farming as a way of training your land to manage itself. We hear people with the attitude that they must get their weeds down first or must get their soil nutrition right first. From our experience, conventional efforts to do these things are only temporary. If we could convert over again, we would take a less gradual and more ‘jump in the deep end’ approach.  Yes, it’s worth it.

Wally

website:  www.capejaffawines.com.au

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