Maybe you’ve noticed the sheep. Or you’ve seen the carpet of green grass, peas and flowers blanketing the vineyard floor.
Both are evidence of Matchbook’s conversion from conventional farming to regenerative and organic. Three years into this project, our sustainable efforts have been recognized by Project Harvest’s California Rules Sustainable Winegrowing certification on the 400 acres of estate vineyards.
The California Rules Certified Green seal signifies a third-party audited commitment to farming that is environmentally and socially responsible while also being economically viable. This credential is just the first step in our mission to become certified organic and regenerative.
While the winery’s initial goal of improving vine health through regenerative farming was to increase the quality of our Estate Bottled wines, “The environmental benefits are now as big a focus,” says John Giguiere, owner of Matchbook Wine Company. The prolonged drought and rising costs make the move to regenerative agriculture more important. Cover crops, grazing sheep and compost teas have eliminated the need for synthetic fertilizers, created a carbon sink and increased the water-holding capacity of the soil.
“It’s been invigorating to take on this large and very important project at this stage of our careers,” Giguiere continues. “Reversing 40 years of farming philosophy is not easy, but we see the need to reduce our farming inputs and water usage while increasing quality and profitability. Sustainable and regenerative agriculture is a win for both the farmer and the environment.”
The California Rules Certified Green Sustainable Winegrowing seal will be added to Matchbook’s estate grown wines beginning with the 2022 vintage.
Matchbook will be celebrating Chardonnay Day this Thursday, in a fruitful fashion! Our berries have reached fruit set and are “enlarging beautifully” according to Matchbook’s head winemaker Dan Cederquist.
Spring is here, and our Matchbook Estate Vineyards are thriving! At this time of year, we perform the second stage of canopy management when the threat of frost has passed. We go through the vineyard, row by row and vine by vine to remove volunteer shoots. This creates a balanced fruit area that will produce the highest quality grapes. This practice is called shoot thinning. Timing is critical for this work because if it is done too early, we lose the protective thermal blanket that the volunteer shoots provide for the vine’s fruit-producing shoots.
“We are looking for a fist width between vine spurs to lower yields and increase flavor concentration. Shoot thinning is important because it creates a uniform fruit zone and allows consistent sunlight into the canopy,” said Greg Giguiere, Director of Vineyard Operations.
Shoot thinning will give the grape clusters just the right amount of space, sunlight, nutrients and ventilation they need as we progress through the 2018 growing season.
Matchbook Vineyards are in bloom! The Chardonnay vines were the first to flower and now the other varietals are following suit. Bloom is an important part of the growing season for a grapevine because each part of the flower has the potential be fertilized and become a grape.
“Flowering is an exciting time of year in the vineyard, as it is the first look at this year’s grape crop,” said Greg Giguiere, Director of Vineyard Operations. “2018 bloom is on the early side, but all looks great. We are happy with the number of flowers and the weather has been favorable at this critical stage in the growing season.”
Spring Flowering Fun Facts:
Grapevine flowers are called “perfect flowers” because they self-pollinate.
Grapevine flowers are fragrant and can fill the vineyard with pleasing aromas of spring flowers, perfume and fresh fruit.