May 16 – Aubyn

May 16

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.

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Grape vines at Jacob’s Creek which are irrigated by a drip irrigation system.

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.

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A cork tree at Jacob’s Creek Winery which they will be able to use the cork from in 18 years

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A closer picture of the cork on the cork tree at Jacob’s Creek

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.

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Most of the vines at Langmeil’s are all over the age of 60 years.

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Wine tasting at Langmeil’s which has some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines.

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.

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Cucumbers growing in the glasshouse at Mallyon’s on the Murray

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The solar panels at Mallyon’s on the Murray which allows Nick to be “off the grid” (self sustainable).

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!!

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Gilbert the pet goat at Mallyon’s on the Murray

Additional links:

-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.

Barossa Valley

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.

Jacob’s Creek

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.

Langmeil Winery, worlds oldest surviving Shiraz

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.

Mallyon’s on the Murray

Solar System

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!

Sources:

http://www.barossa.com/

http://jacobscreek.us/.com

http://us.southaustralia.com/info.aspx?id=9004863&rs=b%7cAU%7cUS

http://www.mallyonsonthemurray.com.au/index.php?p=1_5

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6 Comments

6 thoughts on “May 16 – Aubyn

  1. Mary Beth Kramer

    Wonderful comments!

  2. Donna Jean

    Hi I love your comments What FUN!xxoo…

  3. lizwittenbach

    Aubyn explained the drip irrigation systems that both the wineries that we visited use. One thing about the irrigation in Australia that I found to be interesting was what Jonathon, our guide at the Lagmeil Winery mentioned. He said that some vineyards in the Riverlands use an overhead spray system that waters the vines as well as the surrounding area. This irrigation method is not as effective as the drip system because it causes the roots of the vines to grow horizontally whether than vertically. Therefore, the plants are unable to absorb water that is very far below surface level. Jonathon said that one reason that some vineyards in the Riverlands use the overhead spray system is because they have more access to freshwater. The Barossa Valley vineyards on the other hand are in the driest state of Australia. They have to be much more mindful of water use. I found the contrasting irrigation systems and Jonathon’s reasoning behind them to be an intriguing insight into water consumption. I’ve realized that the relatively easy access that Americans have to water often makes us careless with our use of it.

  4. This was definitely one of my favorite days on the trip so far! I feel so much more of a wine connoisseur after visiting these two wineries.
    I thoroughly felt that Jacob’s creek winery truly cared about the environment from the vast array of efforts that they make to be sustainable, from taking care of the ancient trees that are on their property to the giant solar panel that they use to generate energy. More than that, however, they seemed truly invested in fostering an environmentally friendly attitude in their employees by reminding them to keep their computer monitors off when not in use and encouraging carpooling to work if it is reasonable.
    As you said, they truly have set a prime example of a large scale farming operation that is focused on sustainability almost as much as they are on their crop, something I will take away as genuinely impressive!

  5. Today was a really interesting day, we got to visit to wineries of which I feel more knowledgeable in the process it takes in making wine. The Barossa Valley winery really caught my attention because we learned a lot on the way vines live. The oldest vine in the Barossa Valley winery was the Shiraz grape, which is a red wine. The vine of this particular grape can live to be over 100 years old, like Aubyn mentioned, with roots that can stretch down to very deep levels in the earths surface. We also learned that the roots of an older vine will stretch outward when it is in need of water, so that it is able to survive. At the winery we were told to keep on the path so that if we were carrying any aphid type specimens it would not harm the vines because it would come off into the gravel of the path and eventually die off. We ended our tour at the Barossa Valley Winery with some wine tasting where we were allowed to sample some of the older vine Shiraz, which was amazing I might add!

  6. Ian Seager

    I really enjoyed the opportunity to see the comparison between the large scale more industrial like farm at Jacobs creek and the small scale operation imbedded in a cultural history of Langmeil. They were both making the same product but they used very different methods and philosophies to do it. Jacobs creek treated their vine with care by giving them plenty of water and fertilizer to produce high yields while Langmeil forced their vines to be tough and learn how take care of themselves by putting down deep tap roots to give the wine more quality and character. It really showed how there isn’t necessarily one right way to have a farm and be successful. The Mallyons on the Murray farm show even a different way to farm by growing a diverse range of foods to give their farm and soils resilience. I also really like the wwoof farm hands they used to show how farming can create a global community that allows people to share ideas and grow without needing to get money involved. This was a great day and I really learned a lot.

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