We no longer use harmful herbicides in any of our vineyards. We rely to the maximum extent possible on mechanical weed control.
We put maximum reliance on beneficial insects such as predatory wasps and mites to contain our pest populations.
We minimize the use of off-farm chemicals and pesticides for pest control and wherever possible replace them with organic solutions.
We use organic biofungicides where possible to sustainably manage fungal diseases by activating induced systemic resistance.
We use foliar supplements designed to enhance plant vitality and help our vines quickly recover from environmental and cultural stresses.
StoneRiver Vineyards is a small family-owned and family-run vineyard that is committed to sustainable agriculture. We believe that ecologically-sound and sustainable agriculture is a necessity for the long-term health of our planet and all its’ inhabitants. Our goal is to be good stewards of the land we farm and to leave it in better shape than when we got it. We follow a system-based approach that follows both time proven as well as new and innovative viticulture practices. These practices are sensitive to the environment, economically feasible to implement and maintain, and responsible to the needs and interests of our eco-systems, communities and society. We also believe that following these practices make the wines we produce more complex, better balanced and more reflective of the terroir from which they come.
To help us achieve our sustainability goals, we have been a member of the Pacific Northwest’s Low Impact Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) program since 2011. LIVE is one of the most authoritative sustainability accreditations in the wine world. As a member of LIVE we follow some of the strictest standards for environmentally and socially responsible wine growing in the world. Annually, since 2012 we have been certified by independent inspectors to meet these requirements.
SUSTAINABLE SOIL PRACTICES
We believe that the grapes we grow are dependent on the health of our soils and are only as good as the land we farm and our farming practices. Soil sustainability is at the core of our agricultural practices. Sustainable soil management recognizes the importance of interaction between a vine's roots and the soil, and that the complexity, character and biodiversity reflected in that interaction is the essence of a great wine. We devote a lot of our time to understanding our soils and the processes going on within them. We believe that the more we know about our soils the greater control we have over yield and quality, and the greater our opportunity to affect the long-term viability of our vineyard.
Soil is perhaps the most complex ecosystem on the planet. One of the biggest contributors to this complexity is the effect organic matter has on soil biodiversity. Our goal as sustainable farmers is to increase the use of on-farm inputs and minimize the use of off-farm inputs. At StoneRiver Vineyards we do this by emphasizing the use of cover crops as the best vehicle for increasing organic matter and adding nutrients into our soils. Our goal is to minimize the use of off-farm fertilizers and nutrients.
Knowing our soil types and monitoring our soil properties such as moisture holding capacity, texture, rooting depth and changes in soil chemistry help ensure our vines are growing in soils with good structure and are better able to cope with soil pests, diseases and other stresses. Our emphasis on efficient uptake of nutrients helps us grow a more uniform crop of wine grapes which in turn ensures higher wine quality.
This is important because synthetic fertilizers feed our vines directly and while fast acting, their effects are short -term. Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, feed our soils which, in turn, feed our vines. Organic fertilizers provide long-term benefits to both plants and soils and feed our vines over a much longer time.
In 2018, after 4 years in transition, we met a major milestone in soils sustainability by completely eliminating the use of herbicides and glyphosates in our vineyards.
SUSTAINABLE WATER MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
The wine grape growing season in Southern Oregon is relatively dry and irrigation is essential to grow an economically viable crop. Most of the Irrigation water in Bear Creek Valley is directly dependent on our annual rainfall and snow pack. Irrigation water, however, once fairly abundant in Bear Creek Valley, has become increasingly scarce due to growing population demands and frequent drought conditions.
Our approach to sustainable water management is to minimize our water usage while at the same time providing enough water at the right times to produce the highest quality wine grapes. To do this we use a Davis Instruments EnviroMonitor to scientifically determine the water needs of our vineyards. This system measures, monitors and helps us manage our water needs through the use of soil moisture data, evapotranspiration (ET), customized alerts and irrigation audits.
We use drip irrigation in all of our vineyards. Drip irrigation minimizes the use of water by allowing water to drip slowly and directly into the vine’s root zone. We filter our irrigation water through four separate sand filters and a screen filter. This ensures that only the cleanest water possible reaches our vines and helps our dripper-lines and emitters operate at their maximum efficiency. Our irrigation system is designed to operate on gravity which reduces our carbon footprint by eliminating the need for a water pump and the power needed to run it.
SUSTAINABLE PEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Our approach to sustainable pest management is to combine cultural and biological tools in a way that minimizes economic, environmental and health risks. To this end: