Today we started out the day with a great breakfast made by our group mom, Flick, and then headed out to our destinations. After our bus ride we went to three very exciting and educational places; we visited Jacob’s Creek Winery and Langmeil Winery which are in Barossa Valley. We also went to Mallyon’s on the Murray, which is Flick’s brother’s organic farm. At Jacob’s Creek we were able to have a guided tour of the farm and learn about their future plans and current efforts to protect the environment. Our next stop was at Langmeil Winery which was a smaller operation but was full of history and hand harvested grapes. Here we were able to learn about the history of Barossa Valley and also wine taste. After this we headed out of town to learn about organic farming and have a lovely view of the Murray River.
All of the places we visited today did a great deal of effort to farm sustainably and conserve water. Jacob’s Creek used subsurface and drip irrigation which they also used recycled water with. They used drip irrigation on the vines to control water usage and use targeted spray practices to ensure little over spray and minimal chemical runoff/waste. With roughly 150 acres in Barossa Valley and 400 acres in other locations they are making sure to maintain low water usage and reduce their carbon footprint. Outside they have two large solar panels which help power their operation, and inside they use rainwater in all of the toilets and used re-used beams in the making of their cafe.
After Jacob’s Creek we headed to Langmeil Winery where Jonathan gave us an insightful tour of the facility. Langmeil has vines that were planted in 1843 and are still standing! They take cuttings off of the old vines and re plant them to continue on the legacy of the old vines. Langmeil also does a large amount of water conservation, they use drip irrigation on their vines, Here we learned a lot about the history of Barossa Valley which is home to over 160 wineries. At this winery they focus on the health of the existing vines, which is crucial as some of their vines are over 100 years old. Here they hand prune and hand harvest all of their grapes which is not only good for the vines but also for the environment as they aren’t burning fossil fuels. This is labor intensive but they feel it is best for the vines and will create the healthiest plants with the best tasting crop.
After tasting some delicious wine we headed to Mallyon’s on the Murray where Nick, the owner, gave us a tour of his operation. At Mallyon’s on the Murray they are fully self-sustainable, they have two 60-80 kilowatt solar panels which allows Nick and his wife to power their entire operation. Nick has 10 acres of certified organic stone fruit trees; he sells his product at local South Australian markets and dries the extra so that nothing is wasted. This year has been exceptionally tough for the farmers in his area due to the drought; they have lost 1/3 of local growers in the last year. Due to the drought Nick has begun to farm some of his crops in glasshouses; this way he can conserve water and still have viable crop. In the glasshouses he grows cucumbers, basil and eggplant. He uses integrated pest management in the glasshouses versus chemicals to remove harmful pests. Integrated Pest Management is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management, this program uses information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment to keep plants healthy. This can be tricky as plants can become adapted to certain pests so one must monitor the usage of certain pests very carefully.
All of our visits today taught us how farmers use sustainable practices even at a large scale. From sub surface to drip irrigation we learned a lot about different water practices used on grape vines. We also had a chance to check out some different size solar panels and see how effective they can be when used properly. Finally after our busy day we went to our new place of stay for the next two days, Calperum Station, the showers will be short and the nights will be cold but memories will be made for sure. We all miss everyone back home!!
-For an explanation of different irrigation methods: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/irquicklook.html
-For more information on Langmeil Winery: http://www.langmeilwinery.com.au/
-Benefits and drawbacks of solar energy- http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/solar-energy-benefits-drawbacks-2259.html
-How to build your own glasshouse- http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/how-to-build-a-greenhouse.aspx#axzz2W9SDGnUJ
-To learn more about how vine age affects the taste of wine- http://www.enologyinternational.com/yield/yieldvsq7.html
-For more information on integrated pest management- http://www.ipm.msu.edu/agriculture/fruit
Hello everyone, as I’m writing this we are one day out from departure! Exams are over and now it is time to pack our bags and head to Australia for a trip full of activity. On our sixth day in Australia we will be in Barossa Valley and Renmark Australia, both of which are located in South Australia.
The estimated temperature for Thursday the 16th in this area is a low of 46 F and a high of 64 F with a chance of rain. We will be visiting in their fall which is generally mild and sunny with cool evenings. While we are there we should have a beautiful view of the autumn leaves.
Barossa Valley is located 60 km north of Adelaide (about a 1.25 hour drive), it is a large wine making region that has a vast amount of culture all around it. The area covers a large amount of land, it is about 13 km long and 14 km wide. Barossa Valley is deep in it’s ancestral roots, you can visit the Lutheran Church, pioneer cemetery or travel the Tanunda Heritage Trail to experience the towns history. The town is centered around the wine industry but the food industry also plays a large role in their economy. They produce dried fruit, have many butchers and also have various bakeries. They have a local farm market every Saturday where all of the local products are sold. Unfortunately we will be there on a Thursday so we will not be able to tour the market, however, we have plenty of excitement for our day in the area.
Our first stop on Thursday morning in Barossa Valley will be at Jacob’s Creek Winery. Jacob’s Creek Winery first started back in 1847 by a Bavarian immigrant named Johann Gramp. At the winery they put a tremendous effort into sustainability, from recycling to energy conservation they work very hard to practice sustainability. In their garden they have over 4500 Australian native plants, they also have European plants but focus on native plants in order to preserve the land. They are currently working on bringing back native grasses that will provide food to many animals. The winery uses some of the newest technology in order to control their water usage for watering the vineyards.
The next stop on our trip today is at Langmeil Winery, home of the world’s oldest surviving Shiraz wine. The land was first purchased by Christian Auricht, a German Blacksmith. He immediately began farming and eventually added a bakery, butcher’s shop and also a cobbler’s shop, which lead it to becoming the main trading center for the town. In 1843 Christian planted his first vines which were of the Shiraz variety, these vines are still producing today. This vineyard definitely has a lot of culture and history that we will be able to learn about.
Our final stop for the day will be at Mallyons on the Murray where will have a guided tour of the organic farm. They are also located in South Australia, just two hours from Adelaide. The farm is roughly 18 acres with 500 assorted stone fruit trees (fruits with a pit). They have a main house that was built in 1860 out of solid limestone that is used as a hotel. The barn which was built in 1840 is now used as a cafe where they serve organic food and sell their home-made organic products. They also have a large shed which has a Solar System on it that supplies their operation with the energy they need.
These vineyards and farms will be a great opportunity for us to learn more about sustainable practices being used in Australia. I cannot wait until we get to tour the vineyards with the beautiful autumn leaves and visit this self-sufficient organic farm!