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How Ducks are Being Used to Keep Your Favourite Wines Organic

How Ducks are Being Used to Keep Your Favourite Wines Organic

Australia’s largest certified organic grape grower and winemaker, Angove Family Winemakers, is leading the way in Certified Organic and sustainable wine-making where all family members – even the feathered ones - are involved in the success of the company.

Winemaking is hard work, and it’s important that every member of the team pulls their weight to help contribute to a company’s success. At Angove Family Winemakers vineyard in McLaren Vale, a 130-year-old, multi-generational wine company with a strong commitment to sustainability at all levels, call upon the efforts of their team of Indian Runner ducks to help maintain their Certified Organic status.

“Our ducks are released every day in our Warboys Vineyard at McLaren Vale and the sight of the waterfowls waddling out of their specifically designed ‘Duck Hotel’ is guaranteed to bring a smile to all visitors’ faces, but they also play a very important role in our vineyard. The ducks keep the snail population under control without the need to use pesticides on the vines,” says Richard Angove, Joint Managing Director of Angove Family Winemakers and 5th generation winemaker. “

Richard Angove

Angove are unable to use traditional chemicals to control weeds in the vineyard, so instead they need to resort to manual removal for young vines, or mechanical removal and under-vine mulching in the older more established vineyards.

With snails previously crawling up into the vine canopy and munching away on the young green shoots of the developing leaves and grapes, the (human) team had to remove more than 400 kg of the pests from the vineyard by hand during one growing season. Then they heard about other organic farms overseas using ducks to keep the pest population under control. So a program of rotating the ducks through different sections of the vineyard are now keeping the snail population under control without the need for manual removal or pesticide use.

organic wines

While the ducks deserve credit for helping the company achieve organic status and placing Angove Wines firmly in the “green” company category, the family owned company, and their staff, all work tirelessly to maintain this status. The Angove Certified Organic range is one hundred percent Certified Organic, handcrafted, and vegan friendly. The family owned company were early adopters of the organic winemaking movement in Australia and currently produce 160,000 nine-litre cases of Certified Organic wine and intend to continue to increase this output.

Angove Organic is employing several ecological and sustainable practices to continue their accreditation as Certified Organic winemakers, including introducing drip irrigation, water tank installation, vine mulching and reusing winery wastewater to fuel a woodlot planted with native species.

To date they have converted 330 hectares of organic vineyard in the Riverland and McLaren Vale to certified organic and biodynamic.

Angove Wines

The winemakers at Angove Wines are dedicated to creating wine through the gentlest of touch and minimal inputs. They source their premium grapes from a number of organic and biodynamic vineyards through McLaren Vale and the Riverland. At no stage during the grape growing or winemaking processes are synthetic chemicals or non-organic processes used.

The 400ha Nanya Vineyard is now entirely farmed under organic certification, making it one of the largest organic vineyards in the world, as reflected in their turnover of more than $56 million, a growth of 28% year on year. The company is currently reducing their ranges to provide better quality products to meet the demand of the 50% increase in organic wine consumption.[1]

Australian Organic Wines

For more information go to:

[1] Australian Organic Market Report, 2019


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